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Florida Senate race: Everything you need to know about a possible recount

Florida Senate race: Everything you need to know about a possible recount
Posted at 12:45 PM, Nov 09, 2018

Several key races in Florida are still too close to officially call — days after Tuesday’s Midterm Election.

Here's everything you need to know about a possible recount in a number of key races.

What big races currently face a potential recount?

  • Governor (DeSantis / Gillum) 
  • US Senate (Scott / Nelson)
  • Commissioner of Agriculture (Fried / Caldwell)
  • State Senate District 18 (Cruz / Young)


How does a recount work in Florida?

Under state law in Florida, a recount is mandatory if the winning candidate's margin is 0.5 percentage points or less. The Secretary of State determines if the returns for any federal, state or multi-county races or issues on the ballot meet the statutory threshold requiring a machine recount; a hand recount takes place when that margin diminishes to a quarter percent.

For all other races, the county canvassing board is responsible for ordering recounts.

We have an in-depth outline of other aspects of a recount in Florida here.


When is the deadline to declare a recount?

Counties in Florida have until noon on Saturday, November 10 to submit unofficial election results to the Department of State. Secretary of State Ken Detzner. Detzner who was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott, will review the results and decide whether to order recounts.


What is a provisional ballot?

A provisional ballot is an alternative voting method given to a voter, whose eligibility is in question or cannot be verified at a polling site. According to Florida Statue 101.048, provisional ballots are designed to protect against voter fraud and governed by state law.

Voters given a provisional ballot do not scan their ballots into a tabulation machine. Instead, the ballots are placed into secure envelopes and delivered to the county of Supervisor of Elections offices for further processing.


How many provisional ballots are in Tampa Bay?

  • Hillsborough: Approximately 850
  • Pinellas: 171
  • Polk: Approximately 497
  • Pasco: 180
  • Manatee: 98

ABC Action News has requested numbers from Hernando, Manatee, Sarasota and Citrus Counties.


How are provisional ballots validated?

According to the Santa Rosa County Supervisor of Elections, provisional ballots cast are reviewed for eligibility, and the majority are validated by the canvassing board and counted.

The secrecy of votes cast is protected during the canvassing board’s review of provisional ballots and only legal requirements for voting are examined.

There are legal standards the canvassing board uses, but the main way is to compare signatures on Provisional Ballot and voter registration. If they match, the ballot shall count.


Who sits on are canvassing board?

Each county has a canvassing board that is composed of three members: the supervisor of elections, a county court judge, who acts as the chair, and the chair of the board of county commissioners. Get more on substitutes, alternatives, and duties here.


What is the Recount Timeline?

  • November 10 | 12 p.m.
    • First Unofficial Returns are due to Department of State from County Canvassing Boards
  • November 15 | 3 p.m.
    • Second unofficial returns due to Department of State from County Canvassing Boards
  • November 18 | 12 p.m.
    • Official returns due to Department of State from County Canvassing Boards.
  • November 20 | 9 a.m.
    • Elections Canvassing Commission meets to certify official returns.

We have an in-depth recount timeline here.