Republican Senate candidate Rick Scott’s lead over Democrat incumbent Bill Nelson increased by roughly 1,000 votes relative to the total reported on Election Night following a machine recount that concluded Thursday afternoon.
Scott, the outgoing Florida governor, announced the recount total and called on election officials to declare him victorious in a Thursday afternoon tweet.
With the statewide machine recount finished, our margin of victory has increased by nearly 1000 votes. @SenBillNelson, it’s time to admit this race is over.
— Rick Scott (@ScottforFlorida) November 15, 2018
All counties were required to submit their recount totals for the gubernatorial and Senate contests by 3:30 p.m. on Thursday but Palm Beach missed the deadline for both races. Palm Beach elections supervisor Susan Bucher told reporters Thursday that her office launched a “heroic effort” to comply with the recount deadline but was simply unable to, even as local reports suggested otherwise.
UPDATE FROM PALM BEACH: Nothing.
We’re now 18 hrs from a deadline they’re supposedly rushing to meet and there are *zero* machines running, *zero* employees visible working on the floor, and no new info in hours.
I just asked supervisor for update, she waved hand, walked away. pic.twitter.com/pXswQZhm9K
— Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) November 15, 2018
Embattled Broward County officials, meanwhile, finished their recount Thursday morning, reducing their vote counts for both Senate candidates.
In Broward, it appears that under the machine recount, BOTH Senate candidates LOST votes. Nelson lost 1,385 while Scott lost 606.
— Beth Reinhard (@bethreinhard) November 15, 2018
Nelson trailed Scott by 12,500 votes in the initial count and a manual recount is now expected since Scott’s lead remains within the 0.25-point margin for triggering one under state law.
A federal judge denied the Nelson campaign’s request to delay the machine-recount deadline Thursday morning. The same judge, Mark Walker of the U.S. District Court in Tallahassee, did however grant some 4,000 voters whose mail-in and provisional ballots were rejected due to signature inconsistencies two additional days to rectify their errors.
Republican allegations of fraud levied against Florida election volunteers have been bolstered this week by numerous local reports detailing the unlawful modification of forms sent to voters to correct their rejected ballots. The Department of State acknowledged this week that it referred information about the doctored forms to the Department of Justice for investigation.
The governor’s race between Republican representative Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum is not expected to proceed to a manual recount as the margin stood at 0.41 percent prior to the machine recount.