The Florida Recount: A Breakdown

You might have heard that Florida was having a recount of voters' ballots following the midterm elections. If you’re not sure exactly what this means, don’t worry we’ve got you covered.

What do you need to know to fundamentally understand? The race was too close to call.

Governor Rick Scott was leading Democrat Senator Bill Nelson by only 12,500 votes and Ron DeSantis was ahead of Andrew Gillum by almost 34,000. To make it more understandable, any margins under 0.5 percent triggers an automatic machine recount in the state. Once the machine recount is complete, a hand recount will be ordered in any race where the difference is 0.25 percentage points or less. Because Thursday showed the vote margin at even less than the required percentage, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner ordered Florida’s 67 counties to begin a manual recount of certain votes. The manual recount only consists of overvotes and undervotes, which are votes in which a voter selected more or fewer candidates than allowed or presented. 

Courtesy: Axios

 

In South Florida alone, there were at least tens of thousands of undervotes. According to Vox, there were reports suggesting that thousands of voters never even received the absentee ballots that were requested, and those submitted by Black and Latinx voters were rejected at higher rates in regards to “signature mismatch.” From 45 counties in Florida alone, roughly 4,000 ballots were rejected because voter's signatures didn’t match the signatures that were on file at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Not only is Florida looking at manual recounts, but lawsuits have been piling up because of these issues. As of Saturday, Nov. 10, there have been more than 10 major legal motions filed challenging what votes should be counted.

Counties officially have until Sunday, Nov. 18 to finish the manual recount by noon. As for the machine recount, by Thursday, Nov. 15, Palm Beach and Broward County did not get to finish in time before the deadline. Broward was just two minutes late. This ultimately means that the election results for these counties will not be counted and will stay the same. But just hours after missing the deadline, US District Court Judge Mark Walker ordered that voters have until Saturday, Nov. 17 to correct their signatures after initially having their ballots thrown out because of the “signature mismatch,” giving leverage to Democrats. Shortly after the decision, Rick Scott’s campaign issued a statement declaring they would immediately appeal the motion, as the ruling is a “baseless decision.”

Courtesy: NY Mag

 

Following the failure of Palm Beach and Broward County to meet the deadline, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson’s lawyer said, “We have sued Palm Beach County and the Florida Secretary of State to require a hand count of all ballots in the county due to systematic machine failure during the machine recount,” according to CNN.  If granted, the deadline could be extended and the race to the finish will further anticipate. Many Floridians are furious that the recount was even issued and are taking the order as an interpretation of “stealing votes,” but every vote counts in times like these.