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Florida Recount: The State of Play

The Florida secretary of state announced that the razor-thin races for governor, senator and agriculture commissioner will be reviewed in a series of recounts, which were triggered because the margins in all three contests are under 0.5%.

Posted: Nov 15, 2018 12:08 PM
Updated: Nov 15, 2018 12:08 PM


A recount is underway in Florida for the Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner races following the 2018 midterm elections. On Saturday, the Florida secretary of state announced the recount, which was triggered because the margins in all three contests are under .5%. Each county is recounting votes and the results from the machine recount are due back by Thursday.

As the deadline approaches, Republicans are seeking to cast doubt on the election process, and Democrats are leveling increasingly heated charges in return.

Recount votes could start rolling in

Are you ready to recount? Tuesday should bring our first significant data haul that will give an idea of if this machine recount will be demonstrably different than the original count. Many smaller counties are expected to wrap up their process as soon as Tuesday and both sides expect them to certify and post their results. The key will be to compare the vote totals issued Saturday to the vote totals now coming in on a county-by-county basis. It won't tell us the whole story, but it should provide a glimpse of what to expect.

Will it get done on time?

We feel marginally better Tuesday than we did Monday that we will get a full recount of at least the Senate race between Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott, which is the race with the most at stake. The main source of worry was Palm Beach County where Susan Bucher, the Supervisor of Elections, predicted gloom and doom on Sunday, but on Monday after they got moving felt a lot better about their prospects. In fact, privately Democrats are holding onto the option of filing a lawsuit to extend the deadline, but at this point they are not moving forward because it looks like Palm Beach County will be done on time. Broward County remains confident they will get done on time, but they were slow to get up and running. While they are talking a good game, there are some nerves outside of the office that they will likely be pushing it right up to the deadline (you know, just like Election Night). Remember this is an enormous undertaking and even the best run counties, like Miami-Dade, expect to be done, but it requires them to count 24 hours a day, and they started soon after the order was issued Saturday afternoon.

Hearing pregame

Both Republicans and Democrats are beginning to believe that Wednesday's hearing in Federal Court could prove to be an enormous harbinger of the ultimate outcome in this race. Judge Mark Walker will be hearing a Democratic argument to revisit tens of thousands of ballots that were not counted because they did not strictly adhere to Florida law. Marc Elias, the lead Democratic lawyer, has repeatedly said that the way these ballots were handled disenfranchised a whole host of voters, particularly in minority communities. Not everyone agrees with that assessment. Mark Earley, who is the Supervisor of Elections in Leon County has been called to testify by the judge in this case. Earley is a veteran of the 2000 presidential recount. He said he is open to any suggestions to make the process better, but from his point of view the only ballots that are not allowed under these circumstances are the ones with egregious errors. "We err on the side of the voter," said Earley. "I think we try to make sure those votes are tabulated. But in my position, from my frame of reference, there has to be some check or guard against voter fraud."

Ultimately, Judge Walker will decide, and that decision could play a huge role in how this plays out.

Bay County problems

A new, surprising, problem popped up on the radar Monday. Mark Anderson, Supervisor of Elections in Bay County, told CNN's D.J. Judd that he accepted 158 ballots from voters who were impacted by Hurricane Michael via email or fax. That decision was in direct violation of a specific order from Florida's secretary of state that gave special guidance to counties ravaged by the storm. Anderson claims other counties made the same choice. He also was clear that he took special precautions to make sure the votes were cast appropriately. "I think the important part to realize that we actually were able to pull off a successful election with checks and balances, we just didn't do willy-nilly e-ballots, they have security that was on them. We have documentation that's on them," Anderson said. "We have all the processes to backup and protect why we did what we did." (READ: CNN's full story on the decision)

There is no question that Anderson was dealing with a unique and difficult circumstance after the devastation of the hurricane. Still, Anderson appears to have broken the rules. The question is will anyone call him on it? That could be a precarious position for both sides. Bay County is a Republican County. If Democrats cry foul, that could run counter to their standard of "count every vote." If Republicans defend this action, it takes a lot of steam out of their argument that the law is the law.

Should Scott recuse himself

A lot of noise was made on Monday about Scott removing himself from the recount process in his official capacity as governor. Scott has taken some controversial action, like asking the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate possible voter fraud (they found none), and asking Attorney General Pam Bondi to get involved. Scott was hit with a lawsuit Monday by the League of Women voters and Common Cause designed to force him to recuse himself. A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for Wednesday morning in federal court in Tallahassee. This, like much of the legal activity surrounding this story is theatre. So far Scott's actions, while bold, have had minimal impact on the actual counting of votes. In fact, both Palm Beach and Broward County agreed with him that some level of law enforcement monitoring the election equipment and ballots was a smart idea. However, Scott certainly runs the risk of taking it too far. He has already opened the door to Democrats describing him as a socialist dictator. In terms how this plays out, know this: only a court order will force Scott to recuse himself from anything having to do with being governor.

New York

Confirmed Cases: 399513

Reported Deaths: 32283
CountyConfirmedDeaths
New York City21805223247
Nassau421642188
Suffolk418491991
Westchester351831432
Rockland13683668
Orange10810484
Erie7624639
Dutchess4255152
Monroe4074273
Onondaga3050188
Albany2183121
Ulster185186
Oneida179198
Sullivan146048
Putnam134863
Niagara131590
Schenectady84837
Broome77060
Rensselaer58630
Saratoga58517
Columbia48237
Madison36817
Ontario29033
Orleans28654
Warren27333
Steuben27241
Fulton26324
Greene26318
Washington24814
Genesee2445
St. Lawrence2272
Oswego2113
Wayne1953
Herkimer1824
Tompkins1800
Chenango1635
Chautauqua1527
Tioga15124
Chemung1482
Livingston1408
Cattaraugus1316
Montgomery1254
Cayuga1242
Clinton1074
Wyoming995
Jefferson950
Delaware914
Otsego865
Seneca730
Allegany641
Schoharie610
Cortland550
Essex510
Yates486
Franklin340
Lewis310
Schuyler130
Hamilton60
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 302484

Reported Deaths: 6859
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1249923690
Riverside23334533
Orange21517402
San Diego18402415
San Bernardino17414304
Imperial7654127
Fresno762787
Alameda7407146
San Joaquin606567
Kern597989
Santa Clara5678166
Tulare5509148
Sacramento493278
Stanislaus436450
Contra Costa435788
San Francisco414550
Ventura409353
Santa Barbara386829
San Mateo3787111
Marin322730
Kings285539
Monterey234317
Solano198527
Merced179312
Sonoma151914
Placer99311
San Luis Obispo8774
Madera8578
Yolo80228
Santa Cruz5063
Napa4664
Sutter3374
Butte3194
San Benito3112
El Dorado2920
Lassen2690
Shasta1766
Yuba1633
Humboldt1614
Glenn1590
Nevada1591
Mendocino1070
Colusa1030
Lake1011
Tehama981
Calaveras610
Tuolumne600
Del Norte580
Mono491
Amador360
Inyo341
Siskiyou330
Mariposa311
Plumas150
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 11188

Reported Deaths: 230
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah269472
Marion174353
Washington172020
Clackamas91427
Umatilla8867
Union3671
Lincoln3634
Lane2713
Malheur2661
Deschutes2290
Yamhill1719
Linn16810
Polk16812
Jackson1640
Jefferson1450
Morrow1321
Klamath1311
Wasco1021
Benton996
Hood River990
Douglas560
Clatsop550
Josephine541
Coos520
Columbia470
Lake240
Crook171
Tillamook150
Wallowa120
Curry90
Baker80
Sherman30
Harney20
Gilliam10
Grant10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00