Broward completes midterm election recount ahead of Sunday deadline

Florida continues painstaking hand recount in U.S. Senate race

By Louis Aguirre - Anchor/Reporter

LAUDERHILL, Fla. - Determining the intent of about 93,000 Florida voters whose ballots could not be counted by machine will help determine the race between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

The hand recount is required by state law whenever candidates are separated by 0.25 percentage points or less. Unofficial results showed Scott ahead of Nelson by 0.15 percentage points, or fewer than 13,000 votes out of more than 8 million cast.

In Broward County, officials relied on a color-coded system to tally some of the last ballots by hand.

Ballots with clear votes for Republican Gov. Rick Scott went into a bin with a red tag. Clear votes for Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson went into one with a blue tag. Blank ballots went into a bin with a yellow tag. Anything that needed further examination by the canvassing board was dropped into one with a green tag.

Dozens of volunteers sitting behind the bins stacked on folding tables in a Broward County warehouse cheered loudly when they finished their hand recount Friday morning. Results were not immediately announced.

The contest for governor appeared all but over Thursday, with a machine recount showing Republican DeSantis with a large enough advantage over Democrat Andrew Gillum to avoid a hand recount in that race, which had a margin of 0.41 percent.

Gillum, who conceded on election night only to retract his concession later, said in a statement that "it is not over until every legally casted vote is counted."

On Friday, however, President Donald Trump tweeted: "Congratulations to Ron DeSantis on becoming the new Governor of Florida. Against all odds, he fought & fought & fought, the result being a historic victory. He never gave up and never will. He will be a great Governor!”

The overall recount has been fraught with problems. One large Democratic stronghold in South Florida could not finish its machine recount by the Thursday deadline because of machines breaking down. A federal judge rejected a request to extend the recount deadline.

"We gave a heroic effort," said Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher. If the county had three or four more hours, it would have made the deadline to recount ballots in the Senate race, she said.

Broward County

Candidate Nov. 6 Total Recount Difference
Rick Scott 211,119 210,513 -606
Bill Nelson 471,334 469,949 -1,385
Ron DeSantis 221,873 221,252 -621
Andrew Gillum 481,677 480,304 -1,373
Matt Caldwell 213,938 213,322 -616
Nikki Fried 478,829 477,448 -1,381


Miami-Dade County

Candidate Nov. 6 Total Recount Difference
Rick Scott 316,014 315,817 -197
Bill Nelson 485,195 484,938 -257
Ron DeSantis 311,762 311,556 -206
Andrew Gillum 479,041 478,813 -228
Matt Caldwell 305,197 305,034 -163
Nikki Fried 475,785 475,594 -191



Copyright 2018 by WPLG The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.