As the margins tighten in key Florida races, supervisors of elections are meeting across the Tampa Bay area to prepare for a possible statewide recount.
We’re paying close attention to four major races, with candidates each taking their fights into overtime.
- The U.S. Senate race between incumbent Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott. Scott has claimed victory, but Nelson hasn’t conceded.
- In the Florida governor's race, Republican Ron DeSantis claimed victory, but Democrat Andrew Gillum’s camp is preparing for a possible recount as the gap between the two has narrowed.
- In the Florida Senate District 18 race, Democrat Janet Cruz has claimed victory over incumbent Republican Dana Young, but with the margin so slim it will likely go to a recount.
- The same goes for the battle to be the next agriculture commissioner between Nikki Fried and Matt Caldwell. On Thursday, Fried took a lead in the vote count.
The candidates aren’t the only ones preparing for a recount. Supervisors of elections across the state are too.
The groups of people in charge of making sure everything is ready for a recount in each county are called canvassing boards. Every county has a board, and they are all meeting at different times to prepare for a recount.
Thursday, the Hillsborough County supervisor of elections office held its meeting. It was a packed house as people interested in the results of Florida’s key races were in attendance.
Normally a canvassing board is made up of a supervisor of elections, a judge and a chair of the county commission, but in Hillsborough County it’s two judges and the supervisor of elections.
Thursday night after the board met, poll workers stayed afterward to count provisional and mail-in ballots.
Here’s the timeline for what’s next:
- All statewide results have to be reported to the state elections office before a recount can be ordered, that includes mail-in and provisional ballots
- The deadline for those unofficial ballots to be turned into the state is noon Saturday.
- If a recount is ordered the process can take days.
Hillsborough’s canvassing board will meet again at 3:30 p.m. Friday to continue recounting. The results from Thursday will be posted on its website as soon as they are complete.
Approximately 850 more provisional ballots need to be counted Friday
If a state recount is ordered, the Hillsborough County supervisor of elections hopes to start that process on Sunday.
The deadline for county supervisor of elections to send all ballots to the state is Nov. 18. The deadline for the votes to be certified by the state is Nov. 20.
Canvassing boards for other counties will meet as follows:
- Citrus: 8:30 a.m. Sunday unless they are otherwise instructed by the state.
- Hernando: 9 a.m. Friday
- Manatee: Met Thursday.
- Pinellas: 10 a.m. Friday
- Pasco: 1 p.m. Friday
- Sarasota: Met Thursday
Canvassing board meeting times for Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties weren’t immediately available.
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