Hand recount ends in Broward County after weekend of mishaps

Revised ballot numbers don't budge ag commissioner race; Fried still ahead

LAUDERHILL, Fla. – Broward County has completed its hand recount Sunday after a weekend of confusion and minor mishaps.

Less than an hour ahead of the noon deadline, Broward elections officials submitted their revised numbers in the agricultural commissioner race to the state. Republican Matt Caldwell received 78 additional votes while Democrat Nikki Fried garnered 178 extra votes. Fried is still narrowly leading Caldwell statewide.

The race for U.S. Senate and Florida governor were effectively resolved during the machine recount. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum conceded his race to former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis on Saturday. Sen. Bill Nelson is expected to concede in his race with Gov. Rick Scott at 3 p.m. Sunday.

The end of the hand recount comes after Broward County struggled with missing ballots and tabulation errors. More than 2,000 ballots were "misfiled" Saturday, but elections officials eventually found them in the Supervisor of Elections Office in Lauderhill and added them to the final counts.

"All of those ballots are included within that baseline," said Brenda Snipes, Broward County supervisor of elections. "I believe that they got intermingled with the other ballots when we were doing the recount." 

Snipes has been at the center of the controversy over the recount. Republican officials have alleged, without evidence, widespread voter fraud in Broward and Palm Beach counties, two of the state's biggest Democratic strongholds. Protesters have also charged -- again without evidence -- that Snipes is guilty of corruption. 

Snipes and her team, however, have missed several deadlines during the recount and the process has been marred by several embarrassing errors. Gov. Rick Scott has also accused Snipes' office of a lack of transparency. 

Broward's performance is in contrast with how neighboring Miami-Dade County handled the recount. That county has been widely praised for its efficient handling of the process. Despite being the state's most populous country, Miami-Dade was able to work ahead of deadlines without making any major mistakes.

Locally, four races -- Plantation mayor, Pompano Beach mayor, a West Park City Commission seat and a Walnut Creek Community Development District Seat -- will be decided by the results of the hand recount, but elections officials said those results would not be certified until Tuesday.


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