After a recount that ended very late Tuesday evening, only a single ballot was added to the tally that had not been originally counted in the Florida Keys, according to Monroe County’s top elections official.
That ballot meant one more vote each for Rick Scott in the U.S. Senate race, Ron DeSantis for governor and Matt Caldwell in the commissioner of agriculture race, where Caldwell ran against Democrat Nicole “Nikki” Fried.
But it didn’t change any of the outcomes in the Florida Keys. DeSantis and Caldwell still won Monroe County and each earned one more vote statewide. Scott still lost Monroe to incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson but now by nine votes, not 10.
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“We found a ballot,” said Joyce Griffin, supervisor of elections in Monroe County. “We just don’t know. It’s just one of those things. That’s why we [recount] at one-half of 1 percent. I’m pretty proud that out of nearly 37,000 ballots, we were one off. I’m very pleased.”
Griffin’s team started the recount Saturday, after the state’s 67 counties had filed unofficial results with Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who oversees the state elections. Detzner, after reviewing the ballots, last Saturday ordered the statewide recount of the more than 8 .3 million votes cast in Florida in the midterm elections for three major races: U.S. Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner. The margins in those races fell below 0.5 percent, the threshold for mandatory machine recounts.
On Thursday, state elections officials ordered a statewide hand recount in the races of U.S. Senate and agriculture commissioner, as the machine recounts determined the margins fell under 0.25 percent, the threshold for a hand recount, according to state law. In a hand recount, all 67 of the state’s counties will count their undervotes or overvotes, votes that were not tallied by a machine for various reasons. The deadline for finishing the hand recount is Sunday.
Of the three races in Monroe County, the only Republican who came out the loser was Scott, who trailed Nelson by nine votes after the recount. Nelson won 49.86 percent of the vote in the Keys; Scott received 49.84 percent.
DeSantis won with 51 percent of the Monroe County vote over Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who ran on the Democratic ticket. Caldwell beat Fried with 50.36 percent of the vote.
The original Nov. 6 count for the Scott/Nelson race in the Keys had Scott winning by one vote. But upon review, it turned out he had lost by 10 votes. The additional votes for Nelson came from overseas and provisional ballots, Griffin said.
Voter turnout in Monroe set a new record for midterm elections — 68 percent.