Florida Senate race recount will likely be done by hand, Nelson campaign attorney says

Bill Nelson campaign raises concerns about unusual undercount vote in Broward

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Senate race between Bill Nelson and Rick Scott appears to be headed to a recount, and a well-known Washington, D.C., attorney with 30 years' experience in post-election recounts who has been hired by the Nelson campaign, said he is confident it will go to a hand recount rather than a machine recount. 

According to the Nelson campaign, the Democrat incumbent continues to pick up votes.

Late election night, Nelson was down 50,000 votes against Scott 

By 3 a.m. Wednesday, he was down 34,500 votes, and by Thursday afternoon, he was down by just 17,344 votes.

If the margin is .5 percent or less, it will be a machine recount. If it is .25 percent or less, it will be a manual hand recount. This is mandated by Florida election law. 

Neither campaign can force a recount, but either can request one. When the race is this close, the state elections board will call for a recount. 

Meanwhile, they are still counting ballots in Broward and Palm Beach counties, and the Nelson campaign attorney believes Nelson may actually be in the lead as it goes into a recount. 

"When the state tells us we can begin, we will have identified a day and it will be between Nov. 13 and November 20," Broward County Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda Snipes said. "We had over 600,000 voters. So we are going to have to pull page one for every one of those voters, because that is where the races are located."

Scott has already declared victory based on some media outlets projecting he has won, but the state has not certified the election. 

It has until noon Saturday to do so. 

"In Broward County, we know they are still counting. They were counting late into the night last night and, as you know, that increased Sen. Nelson and the other Democrats on the ticket and their vote share. That process will continue and we will see further results there," Marc Elias, an attorney for the Nelson campaign, said. "As the day progresses today, I expect that we are going to be well to the .25 necessary for a hand recount, and I think that is where we are headed."

The Scott campaign is not happy about a possible recount and has essentially said the Nelson campaign is trying to "steal" the election. 

The Scott campaign released a statement saying: "It is sad and embarrassing that Bill Nelson would resort to these low tactics after the voters have clearly spoken. Maybe next, he'll start ranting the Russians stole the election from him."

The Nelson campaign also is looking at an unusual undercount vote in Broward County. 

An undercount is when one race gets more votes cast than other races. For instance, some people voted for the governor's race but didn't vote for the Senate race. The Nelson campaign says Broward's percentage of undercount votes related to the Nelson-Scott campaign is unusually high, and Nelson believes it could be due to scanning errors and that a hand recount would catch those errors.

Snipes said Broward County is prepared for a recount.

"It might take up to five hours," she said. "It depends on how many counting teams we put in place and more than likely we will have anywhere from 45 to 50."