Miami-Dade nearly finished with recount as Broward stresses it will meet deadline

Workers in Doral will complete process Wednesday with quality assurance checks

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor, Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor

DORAL, Fla. - Miami-Dade County finished recounting its more than 800,000 ballots late Tuesday as neighboring Broward County continued to work to meet the 3 p.m. Thursday deadline.

Just after 8 p.m., an election worker fed the last stack of ballots into a voting machine to round of applause in Doral. Roberto Rodriguez, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade County supervisor of elections, said the county would submit its results to the state after officials conduct quality assurance checks on Wednesday.

He said the county would publish its revised vote count online after the state accepts the results.

"We had a task in mind and our goal was to finish," Rodriguez said.

Elections workers in Miami-Dade County anticipated the recount and began the process of separating the ballots in advance of Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner's order. Miami-Dade also brought in additional counting machines from Nebraska.

[ Video courtesy of the Miami Herald ]

That's a stark comparison to Broward County, where workers were still sorting through all the ballots and hadn't begun the recount until late Tuesday morning.

Broward County Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda Snipes said the process was delayed after one of the county's 10 ballot-counting machines malfunctioned. The machines had to be calibrated during the weekend, so workers weren't able to start sorting through all the ballots until Sunday.

"I've worked here for about 15 years, and I have to say, this is the first time that this office or I have been under such a tax," Snipes said.

Despite the delay, Snipes said she is confident the recount will be finished by the state-mandated deadline.

Broward officials said Tuesday afternoon that elections workers had completed recounting early voting ballots and now have moved on to sorting mail-in ballots.

Meanwhile, in Palm Beach County, Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher said vote counting machines overheated late Tuesday, forcing her staff to redo a recount of nearly 175,000 ballots. Bucher has warned that the county may not make the deadline because its equipment is older and can't recount multiple races at once.

On Saturday, Detzner ordered statewide recounts for three races -- governor, U.S. Senate and agriculture commissioner.

Miami Dade County Commission Chairman Esteban Bovo credited the county's progress to Supervisor of Elections Christina White, who was appointed and not elected, as other county elections officials are.

"She's free of the politics  and innuendo and trappings that come with this business," Bovo said. "The voters want to hold people accountable, and I think that’s important. But I think these positions should not be partisan elected positions. There shouldn't be politics at play involved in any of the work they do."

The recount was ordered after unofficial results showed Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis leading Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by 0.41 percentage points for governor. Republican Gov. Rick Scott's lead over Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson was 0.14 percentage points.

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