Florida election officials on Thursday ordered a hand recount of ballots in the closely fought U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson and his Republican challenger, Governor Rick Scott, after a machine recount showed them divided by a razor-thin margin.
n another tight contest, Republican Ron DeSantis appeared to secure the Florida governor’s seat against Democrat Andrew Gillum when the electronic recount showed DeSantis with an 0.41 percentage point lead, outside the threshold to trigger further recount.
Under state law, the Florida Department of State must trigger a manual recount if an electronic recount of ballots finds a margin of victory less than 0.25 percent.
Gillum, who initially conceded on election night but then reversed course, signaled that he had not yet given up.
In the Senate race, Nelson trailed Scott by about 12,600 votes, or 0.15 percent of the more than 8 million ballots cast following an electronic recount of ballots in the Nov. 6 election, the state said.
The electronic recount suffered glitches as liberal-leaning Palm Beach County failed to complete the process by Thursday’s deadline due to machine problems. Nelson’s team said it had filed a lawsuit seeking a hand recount of all ballots in the county.
In the next stage of the recount, Florida counties face a deadline of noon E.T. on Sunday to submit their election results – including a manual recount of undervotes or overvotes, cases where the machine that reviewed the ballot concluded a voter had skipped a contest or marked more than one selection.
If the voter’s intentions are clear on review by a person, the ballot could be counted.
Overall control of the U.S. Senate is not at stake in the Florida race. President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans held their majority in the chamber while Democrats took a majority in the House of Representatives.