After U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson called for a recount on Wednesday following the Nov. 6 general election, Republican Gov. Rick Scott's lead is now just 0.26 percent in the race to unseat the incumbent Democrat – one-hundredth of a point away from triggering a manual recount, or recount by hand.
According to the Florida Division of Elections
, Scott has received 4,088,190 votes, or 50.13 percent of the total. Nelson, meanwhile, has received 4,066,302 votes, or 49.87 percent. As of noon today, as the remaining votes trickle in across Florida – including mail and early voting ballots in Broward County and mail ballots in Palm Beach County – only 21,888 votes, or 0.26 percent, separate the candidates.
Roughly 8.2 million votes have been the Florida Senate race. On election night, Scott had a nearly 60,000 vote lead, while yesterday that lead had decreased to about 34,000.
Under state law, a machine recount
is automatically triggered when the margin is 0.5 percent or less. Similarly, a manual recount
is triggered when the margin is 0.25 percent or less.
As Marc Elias, an election lawyer for the Nelson campaign, told reporters in a conference call this morning, it's a "jump ball." However, Elias stressed, such a close margin warrants a recount.
"At the end of this process Sen. Nelson is going to prevail," Elias said, noting his experience in election law. "I am very measured in how I treat what I say."
Elias also pointed out the approximately 30,000 vote difference in undervotes in the Senate race in Broward. While 695,799 people in turned in a ballot, only 665,688 voted in the Senate race. That's bizarre when you think about how more than 690,000 people voted in the governor's race between Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis. It also means that if the results are accurate, more people voted in the Agriculture Commissioner race between Republican state Rep. Matt Caldwell and Democratic attorney Nikki Fried than U.S. Senate.
As the News Service of Florida previously reported, the automatic recount involves "running ballots through tabulating machines to determine the accuracy of the total votes." Manual recounts, as the term implies, require ballots are counted by hand.
Unofficial returns from the counties are due at noon, Nov. 10.
Voters who cast a provisional ballot on Tuesday – either those who forgot identification or showed up at the wrong polling place – have until 5 p.m. today to straighten out any confusion regarding their provisional ballot with their county supervisor of elections office.
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