For most Florida campaigns, the Primary ended on Tuesday evening — but not all of them. In contests across the state, the process of getting out every vote was met with near identical vigor and intensity, and as a result outcomes remain uncertain until mandatory recounts take place.
What’s the process? Mark Ard, State Department external affairs director, laid out the process for Florida Politics.
First off, it’s important to note the initial tabulation of votes remains incomplete. While most votes were tallied on Aug. 23, there remain votes to be counted, including provisional ballots cast at polls but kept separate, as well as military overseas ballots cast before the day of the election but which have a longer allowed window to arrive in Florida.
Supervisors of Elections had until noon on Aug. 26 to submit the first unofficial results to the state.
At that point, for any federal, state and multicounty races in Florida where two candidates are within 0.5 percentage points of one another, Secretary of State Cord Byrd will order a machine recount. For local jurisdictions, which may have different rules on determining election winners, local officials will order recounts as needed.
Supervisors, after testing calibrations of machines, will then tabulate all votes a second time to come up with a new total in the race. Offices have until 3 p.m. on Aug. 28 to submit this second set of unofficial results to the state. In the event the totals remain within 0.25 percentage points, a second recount will be ordered, this one conducted manually by deputized elections officials in appropriate counties of only the votes tabulated as undercounts or overcounts.
County Supervisors have until 5 p.m. on Aug. 30 to submit final official results to the states for certification. That means it could be nearly a week after the Aug. 23 election that a final victor becomes clear.
What does that mean for candidates? A number of races came down to mandatory recount margins, and some appear on their way to manual recounts. From smallest to largest margins as of noon Aug. 24, the Division of Election-managed races still in flux are listed below.
Florida House District 29 (R) — Margin of 0.18 percentage points
This is the state’s only race pitting two legislative incumbents against one another as a result of redistricting. Rep. Webster Barnaby, a DeBary Republican, clings to a 26-vote lead on Rep. Elizabeth Fetterhoff, a DeLand Republican. The winner faces Democrat Rick Karl in November in a Republican-leaning seat.
Florida’s 4th Congressional District (D) — Margin of 0.36 percentage points
While state Sen. Aaron Bean cruised to the Republican nomination for this open seat, the contest for the Democratic nomination remains too close to call. LaShonda Hollaway holds a 206-vote lead over Tony Hill.
Florida’s 22nd Congressional District (R) — Margin of 0.38 percentage points
While Democratic U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel remains a favorite in this deep blue district, it remains uncertain who she will face in November. Dan Franzese boasts a 132-vote edge on Deborah Adeimy in the Republican Primary.