Dade elections: Still 70,000 ballots away from declaring winner in Asencio-Rivera race

Robert Asencio
Robert Asencio

The 2016 election, which already seems to have gone on forever and a day, will stretch to forever and four days — at least for the tighter-than-tight state House race between Democrat Robert Asencio and Republican David Rivera. Miami-Dade election officials recounting the ballots adjourned Monday with another 70,000 votes left to go.

Recounting will resume — and is expected to finish — Thursday. But even then another count of some of the ballots will probably be necessary because the race is so tight. Results on election night showed Asencio leading Rivera by just 68 votes, a margin of about a tenth of a percentage point.

State law requires a machine recount for any election in which the margin of victory is less than half a percentage point. And if the margin is less a quarter of a point, a second recount — by hand — is required for so-called overvotes and undervotes, ballots that the machine believes were marked either too many times or not at all.

On Monday, election officials said, they recounted all the votes cast on election day, all absentee ballots, and all provisional ballots, those cast while a voter’s eligibility was still under investigation. Still remaining: The 70,000 ballots cast by machine in the district during early voting.

Most of those don’t involved the bitterly contest House District 118 race between Asencio and Rivera. But they’ll all be loaded into the machine, which will toss out the ballots that don’t include Asencio or Rivera.

A previous version of this story incorrectly said there were 475,000 ballots left to count.