November 8, 2018

BUTTERFLY EFFECT:

How Bill Nelson could ultimately win the recount in Florida's Senate race (Steve Contorno, 11/08/18, Tampa Tribune)

As of Thursday morning, two voter-rich counties were still tabulating an unknown number of ballots.

Broward County, where Nelson received 68.9 percent of the votes, was still counting early voting, vote-by-mail and Election Day ballots.

Palm Beach County, where Nelson received 58.4 percent of the votes, was still counting vote-by-mail ballots.

If the breakdown of these pending ballots is anything close to the results so far, Nelson should pick up more votes than Scott. But no one has been able to say how many uncounted ballots remain, not even Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes.

"Were finishing up with the count as we speak. And we've got to get every vote in," Snipes said. "We're not going to rush through it ... Our absolute deadline is tomorrow for the first unofficial results."

In Broward County, 695,799 people turned in ballots. But only 665,688 voted in the Senate race.

That's a 30,000 difference, a remarkable disparity given the stakes in this race and the name-recognition of these officials.

It's a degree of undervote that is non-existent in the other statewide races on the ballot. For example, more than 690,000 people voted in the governor's race. If the results as they stand are accurate, more people voted for Agriculture Commissioner than U.S. Senate.

So what happened? It's not clear. Elias dismissed bad ballot design, a theory that circulated a bit on Wednesday. Instead, Elias thinks that either a machine problem in certain precincts or marking issues on the ballot led to thousands of uncounted votes in the Senate race.

If that's the case, Elias said he expects those issues will be remedied in a recount, in which case Nelson is likely to further narrow the gap, given where this occurred.

Posted by at November 8, 2018 6:12 PM

  

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