In what seems like a cruel flashback to the 2000 presidential election, a recount in the Florida senate and governors races is happening. Florida’s secretary of state officially ordered the recount on Saturday afternoon.
As of the most recent tallies, Republican Governor Rick Scott’s lead over Democratic Senator Bill Nelson narrowed to 12,562 votes, just 0.15 percent. Republican Ron DeSantis’s lead over Democratic challenger Andrew Gillum shrunk to 33,684 votes, or 0.41 percent.
The battle had already begun as attorneys from both sides argued over ballots and voter eligibility in Broward and Palm Beach counties this week. Depending on the percentage difference between the candidates, either a hand or machine recount will take place. The governor’s race, because it is within 0.5 percent, will be recounted by machine. The Senate race, because it is within 0.25 percent, will get a hand recount of overvotes and undervotes.
Overvotes are when a voter chooses more than the appropriate number of candidates; undervotes occur when the voter chooses fewer than the correct number of choices or none.
Nelson has the option of opting out of the Senate race recount, and a Scott representative called for him to do so in a public statement. “It’s time for Senator Nelson to accept reality and spare the state of the Florida the time, expense and discord of a recount,” Scott spokesman Chris Hartline said.
But Nelson issued a statement of his own in retort: “We have every expectation the recount will be full and fair and will continue taking action to ensure every vote is counted without interference or efforts to undermine the democratic process. We believe when every legal ballot is counted we’ll win this election.”
Scott has also accused “unethical liberals” and “left-wing activists in Broward County” of attempting to steal the election, stating without evidence that the Broward County and Palm Beach County elections officials were conducting “rampant fraud.”
The Gillum camp issued a statement Friday walking back the candidate’s election night concession, “On Tuesday night, the Gillum for Governor campaign operated with the best information available about the number of outstanding ballots left to count. Since that time, it has become clear there are many more uncounted ballots than was originally reported. We are committed to ensuring every single vote in Florida is counted.”
Gillum also tweeted Saturday afternoon calling for a recount.
I am replacing my earlier concession with an unapologetic and uncompromised call to count every vote.
— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) November 10, 2018
DeSantis, however, has been acting like he was decisively elected, appointing a transition team and telling reporters, “It’s a great honor. We’re working really hard on the transition. We’ll let the lawyers do what they got to do. But, we’re good and look forward to serving.”
Protesters, meanwhile, have gathered in Palm Beach and Broward counties. The president also weighed in Saturday afternoon, tweeting (and citing no evidence) that the Democrats are trying to “STEAL” the Florida elections.
Trying to STEAL two big elections in Florida! We are watching closely!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2018