Florida Republican candidate Ron DeSantis celebrated his victory after a tough race against Democrat Andrew Gillum in the November 6, 2018 election.
But, except if there is a challenge to the courts, the race for governance is decided.
After a five-day machine count of the more than 8.3 million votes cast in the Nov. 6 election, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner ordered hand counts on the race between the senator on Thursday afternoon. Federal Bill Nelson and Governor Rick Scott, and also in the race for Agriculture Commissioner, between Nicole “Nikki” Fried and Matt Caldwell.
The race for the governorship, which was submitted to the count with machines, was outside the margin that causes a manual recount, which makes the Republican candidate Ron DeSantis, governor-elect.
“I accept with humility and honor the support that the people of Florida have shown me as I prepare to be their next governor,”DeSantis said in a statement
“we can dedicate ourselves to govern and unite the people to ensure the future of Florida.”He added
Detzner’s order gives the electoral monitoring boards of the 67 counties of the state three days to review thousands of ballots rejected by the machines because they had both candidates marked, or neither of them marked, in a race. Based on a state guide, the supervisory boards, which can count on the help of volunteers, will try to determine by what candidate these people planned to vote
The race between Nelson and Scott is still extremely tight, and the two campaigns continued to fight in court on Thursday for ballots and deadlines, which could decide how many votes are included in the manual count and how much time supervisors have to count them. After the automatic count of the last days, the new totals show that Scott leads Nelson by 12,603 votes, a minimum increase compared to the advantage he had last Saturday.
As the numbers were updated, Scott issued a statement in which he asked Nelson to request an end to the manual recount and acknowledge his defeat. Under Florida law, Nelson, who was even further behind Scott in automatic counting, can stop manual counting if requested.
“Last week, the voters of Florida elected me as their next federal senator, and now these ballots have been counted twice,” Scott said. “I feel tremendously proud and grateful for the opportunity to serve Florida in Washington. Our state needs to keep moving forward. It is necessary to leave this election behind and it is time for Bill Nelson to respect the will of the voters and put an end to this process, instead of having another vote count, which will give the same result, and will mean a greater shame to the state than all we love and we have served. “
Nelson’s chances of erasing the difference fundamentally depends on whether he can accumulate a significant number of additional votes in the manual tally, and if he can also convince thousands of voters who rejected his ballots sent by mail and provisional ballots to take advantage of them. a new opportunity to solve problems with the signatures that caused the annulment of their votes. On Thursday in Tallahassee, US District Judge Mark Walker gave voters whose ballots were turned down due to signature problems until Friday at 5 pm to resolve the situation.
There are more than 4,000 of those voters, maybe more.
Similarly, it is not entirely clear how many people voted for the two candidates or for none of them in the contest for the US Senate. A Herald / Times analysis of state and county data shows that the number could be between 35,000 and 118,000, but the determination of whether any of those ballots will be counted – and the ability of state election monitors to analyze all ballots – It will be crucial for Nelson’s possible chance to maintain his seat.
“I’m still waiting for the 12,500 [vote] margin to continue to go down and finally disappear altogether,” Marc Elias, an attorney in the Nelson campaign election, said in a late afternoon conference call.
He cited Walker’s decision in Tallahassee, a pending lawsuit over the ballots sent by mail before Election Day, and the manual count as factors that he believes will narrow the gap. Elias said about the manual recount: “Ultimately, I think we will not only reduce the margin, but we can also reverse it completely.”
Thursday’s order was expected for at least a week. Supervisors of elections across the state began to prepare for automatic counts in the hours after the polls closed the midterm elections, as the final results of the heavily Democratic Broward and Palm Beach counties reduced the advantage of Scott, Caldwell and the gubernatorial candidate for the Republican Party, Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis’ advantage was maintained on Thursday when the counties reported their results, keeping it above the 0.25 threshold and making him the governor-elect of Florida unless Andrew Gillum presents a legal challenge. But, as expected, the margins in the battles for the US Senate and the Agriculture Commissioner remained below that threshold, which requires manual counts of the votes in which the two candidates were marked or not marked. none.
Now, the counting boards and teams of at least two volunteers – with at least one Republican and one Democrat on each team – will analyze thousands of ballots and inform Detzner. State law requires state scrutiny boards to complete that process by Sunday, so that the Florida election canvass committee can certify the results of the election by Tuesday.
Gillum, on the other hand, has not yet declared defeat.
“A denied vote is denied justice: the state of Florida must count every vote legally cast,” Gillum said in a statement. “As the unofficial reports of today and the recent judicial proceedings make clear, there are tens of thousands of votes that have not yet been counted. We plan to do everything possible to ensure that each voice is heard in this process. Voters should know that their decision to participate in this election, and in each election, is important. It will not end until all the legally cast votes are counted. “
In the race for the Agriculture Commissioner, Democrat Nicole “Nikki” Fried emerged from the count with machines with an advantage of 5,307 votes: 50.03 percent against her opponent, Rep. Matt Caldwell, with 49.97 percent. Fried, who could be the only democrat elected at the state level, once again declared himself victorious.
“Although I will be the only member of my party in the Cabinet, I will rule based on my values and be a voice for priority issues that go beyond partisanship, priorities shared by Floridians,” Fried said. “We remain totally focused on creating a solid transition team to make sure we are prepared to face the challenges in the coming months and deliver results to everyone in Florida.”