Politics & Policy

Rick Scott’s Lead Increases after Recount

Florida governor Rick Scott in 2017. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

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.

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.

Embattled Broward County officials, meanwhile, finished their recount Thursday morning, reducing their vote counts for both Senate candidates.

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.

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