Déjà Vu All Over Again: Florida Elections For Governor And U.S. Senate Heading For Recount

PHOTO: Crowds gathered outside of the Broward County Supervisor of Elections this week in Florida. The elections for governor and U.S. Senate are heading for recounts. CREDIT: Joe Skipper/AP


Two top elections in Florida are heading for recounts, with voters almost evenly divided on candidates in the state’s races for governor and U.S. Senate. Unofficial vote tallies from all of Florida’s 67 counties were turned in at noon on Saturday, and the narrow vote margins triggered machine recounts, which must be completed by Thursday.

The most acrimonious of the elections may be the U.S. Senate race between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson, which will have national consequences. If Nelson is able to retain his seat, it could leave Republicans with a 52-majority in the Senate.

Scott’s lead had narrowed to .15 percentage points, or about 12,500 votes by Saturday afternoon. Florida law requires a machine recount when the leading candidate’s margin is 0.5 percentage points or less.

Nelson has filed a federal lawsuit asking to postpone the deadline for submitting election results, and a motion over the process of validating signatures on provisional and absentee ballots.

Scott also filed lawsuits in both Broward and Palm Beach counties demanding election supervisors there reveal how many votes are left to count, and judges ruled Friday that election supervisors there had to release that information.

President Trump has weighed in with support for Scott, calling the potential for a recount a “fraud,” and referring to one of Nelson’s attorneys, Marc Elias, in a tweet on Saturday.

In Florida’s governors’ race, a congressman allied with Trump, Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, is facing off against Andrew Gillum, the Democratic Mayor of Tallahassee. DeSantis’ lead has narrowed to .41 percentage points.

Gillum initially conceded the race on election night, but as the voting results narrowed, asked that every vote be counted.

The disputes in Florida’s elections recall the swing state’s 2000 presidential recount, when the election for U.S. president was delayed for several weeks over hanging chads.

Political consultant Matthew Dowd worked on George W. Bush’s campaign for U.S. president that year, and tweeted, “Not counting all the votes in Florida in 2000 was a grave injustice and caused many to question the legitimacy of Bush election. Let us not repeat that injustice in FL and AZ this year. Count all the votes.”

Results of this week’s machine recount in Florida may trigger a hand recount, which would have to be completed by Thursday, Nov. 18.

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