The Corner


Florida, by the Numbers

Democratic Florida gubernatorial nominee and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum concedes the race to Rep. Ron DeSantis in Tallahassee, Fla., November 6, 2018. (Colin Hackley/REUTERS)

As we head toward some recounts here in Florida, Politico reports that the county that brought you Bush v. Gore is destined to be at the center of the drama:

What is becoming the focus as the margins close is Broward County, a South Florida Democratic stronghold that has long been the catalyst for Florida-based election woes. Most recently, Democratic Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes was found in May to have broken state and federal law by destroying ballots cast in Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s 2016 Democratic primary race. As a result, Snipes’ office was already under additional monitoring headed into the elections.

Fat lot of good that did:

In Broward County, the epicenter of the 2000 presidential recount, election officials don’t even know how many ballots are left to count.

“I think you would have to ask them [Broward County],” said Marc Elias, a Democratic election law attorney hired to lead Nelson’s recount fight. “I don’t know. They are still counting in Broward County.”

How many ballots we are talking about is unknown, though, per Politico, “there are some clues that indicate tens-of-thousands could be left.”

At present, Ron DeSantis is ahead of Andrew Gillum by around 43,000 voters (0.52 percentage points), while Rick Scott leads Bill Nelson by around 22,000 (0.27 percentage points). If those numbers remain true, DeSantis will avoid a recount entirely, while Scott’s race will be recounted by machine, but not manually.

And if they don’t? Well, that depends on what “tens-of-thousands” means. I ran some numbers and found that if the remaining votes in Broward County followed the pattern of the existing votes, Andrew Gillum would need 113,000 more returned ballots in order to win, while Nelson would need 58,000.

Further complicating things, Palm Beach County also seems to have some mail ballots left to count. I also ran those numbers and found that if the remaining votes there followed the existing ratio, Andrew Gillum would need 253,000 more ballots in order to win, while Nelson would need 129,000.

(Naturally, this Palm Beach number assumes no extra votes being found in Broward — and vice-versa. If, for the sake of argument, we assume half the extra ballots come from Broward and half from Palm Beach, Gillum would need 183,000 and Nelson would need 93,000.)

As for the recounts: Were both races to be re-checked, Andrew Gillum would need a net flip of just over 20,000 votes in order to prevail, while Bill Nelson would need a net flip of 11,000.

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