State Politics

Florida orders recount in Miami-Dade House race where margin is just 68 votes

Robert Asencio
Robert Asencio

As expected, the nail-biter results of a Miami-Dade legislative race between Democrat Robert Asencio and Republican David Rivera will be officially recounted next week.

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner on Friday gave the necessary order for a machine recount in the contest for Miami-Dade County’s House District 118 seat.

In Tuesday’s unofficial results, Asencio edged Rivera by just 68 votes — a tenth of a percentage point. State law requires automatic recounts when results are within a half of a percentage point.

The race is so close, in fact, that elections officials say it will almost certainly require a second recount. If, after the machine recount, the candidates are still less than a quarter of a percentage point apart, state law says so-called “under” and “over” votes be counted by hand.

An “over” vote, in this case, would be one that would go unrecorded because a tabulation machine concluded it was marked for both candidates. An “under” vote is unrecorded because the machine concludes that it wasn’t marked for either candidate. In the hand recounts, the over- and under-votes are examined by human inspectors to see if the machines might have goofed.

MORE: “Race between Asencio, Rivera headed for recount”

The Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections office announced the county canvassing board will begin its recount at 10 a.m. Monday — “and continuing in succeeding days as needed” — at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department.

Detzner’s order requires the county canvassing board to file a second set of unofficial results no later than 3 p.m. Thursday.

The battle between Asencio, a Miami-Dade Schools Police sergeant, and Rivera, a former congressman ousted after a scandal over illicit campaign contributions, was a bitter one.

Although the results aren’t official yet, the Florida House of Representatives’ website already has Asencio on an updated official list of state representatives for the upcoming 2017 session. Newly elected lawmakers will be sworn in Nov. 22 during a one-day organizing session in Tallahassee.

Miami Herald staff writer Glenn Garvin contributed to this story.

Kristen M. Clark: 850-222-3095, kclark@miamiherald.com, @ByKristenMClark

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