TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida’s 67 counties are still counting votes before the state formally announces the official winners in several key races – including a U.S. Senate seat and the state’s next governor – three days after the midterm elections.
Each of Florida’s 67 counties is finishing up counting ballots in some sort of capacity even though the polls closed Tuesday night.
As of Friday morning, the Florida Division of Elections website shows Broward and Palm Beach counties are the only two in Florida that have yet to complete the vote-by-mail ballots.
Broward is the only county in the state yet to complete its early-voting ballots. Twenty-eight counties have yet to complete their provisional ballots.
Each county’s unofficial election results – which includes voting at the polls, vote-by-mail ballots, early voting ballots and provisional ballots – are due Saturday at noon ET.
None of the counties have completed their 10-day overseas vote-by-mail ballots, which are due by Nov. 16.
If history is any indication, Florida can expect about 7,000 to 10,000 votes more votes, according to election results from the 2014 midterm election and 2016 presidential election.
The estimated 7,000 to 10,000 additional votes wouldn’t be enough to swing the result of the U.S. Senate or governor race as it currently stands.
As of Friday morning's results, the Senate race margin has Republican Gov. Rick Scott leading incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson by 15,071 votes or about a 0.18-percent margin.
Scott’s lead has shrunk since Wednesday morning when he led by 34,537 votes or a 0.43-percent margin.
The governor's race has Republican Ron DeSantis leading Democrat Andrew Gillum by 36,232 votes or about a 0.44-percent margin.
Under state law, a machine recount is automatic if the winning candidate’s margin is less than 0.5 percentage points, and a hand recount is required if the margin drops below 0.25 percent.
As of Thursday — two days after Election Day — six Florida races were heading toward recounts, an unprecedented number in a state where races sometimes are won by thin margins.
Scott’s campaign filed lawsuits against Broward and Palm Beach counties Thursday. The suits accuse the counties of not being able to provide accurate totals of how many ballots remain left to be counted.
The U.S. Department of Justice monitored Palm Beach County on election day. Pinellas and DeSoto counties were also monitored.
“Citizens of America control this country through their selection of their governmental officials at the ballot box,” said Attorney General Jeff Session in a news release. “Likewise, fraud in the voting process will not be tolerated. Fraud also corrupts the integrity of the ballot.”
The Justice Department declined to comment on the following questions submitted by 10News:
- Where are monitors typically stationed on election day?
- How many monitors were in Palm Beach County on election day?
- Did the monitors find problems in Palm Beach County?
- Did the monitors document voting fraud in Palm Beach County?
Justice Department spokesperson issued the following statement:
"The Civil Rights Division will gather information on, among other things, whether voters are subject to different voting qualifications or procedures on the basis of race, color or membership in a language minority group; whether jurisdictions are complying with the language minority provisions of the Voting Rights Act; whether jurisdictions permit a voter to receive assistance by a person of his or her choice if the voter has a disability or is unable to read or write; whether jurisdictions provide polling locations and voting systems allowing voters with disabilities to cast a private and independent ballot; whether jurisdictions comply with the voter registration list requirements of the National Voter Registration Act; and whether jurisdictions comply with the provisional ballot requirements of the Help America Vote Act. Division personnel will also maintain contact with local election officials."
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