Florida Gov. Rick Scott called on Democratic rival Sen. Bill Nelson to concede the U.S. Senate race after the Republican gained nearly 900 votes in a statewide machine recount.
The Washington Examiner reported that the race will now go to a manual recount, with the two candidates separated by less than 0.25 percent.
State law mandates a manual recount when the difference between the candidates remains within the 0.25 margin; Nelson trails Scott by 0.15 percent.
Scott picked up 865 votes in the machine recount, increasing his margin to 13,427 votes over Nelson among the 8.2 million ballots cast.
The Miami Herald reported that Broward, Palm Beach, and Hillsborough counties did not make Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline to submit their machine recounts, so their previous tallies were used.
The only way Florida can escape a hand recount is if Nelson concedes the race, which the three-term senator thus far has declined to do.
Scott tweeted on Thursday afternoon, “With the statewide machine recount finished, our margin of victory has increased by nearly 1000 votes. @SenBillNelson, it’s time to admit this race is over.”
With the statewide machine recount finished, our margin of victory has increased by nearly 1000 votes. @SenBillNelson, it’s time to admit this race is over.
— Rick Scott (@ScottforFlorida) November 15, 2018
The governor said in a statement, “We need to put this election behind us, and it is time for Bill Nelson to respect the will of the voters and graciously bring this process to an end rather than proceed with yet another count of the votes, which will yield the same result, and bring more embarrassment to the state that we both love and have served.”
According to the Examiner, the manual recount will begin immediately in many of Florida’s 67 counties in order to meet the Sunday, Nov. 18 deadline.
During a manual recount, undervotes (where the machine did not detect a mark on the ballot for a candidate) and overvotes (where more than one candidate is marked) are reviewed by election officials to see if the voter intent can be determined.
The Washington Post reported that U.S. District Court Judge Mark Walker ruled on Thursday that voters will have until this Saturday to correct mail-in ballots that were not counted due to mismatched signatures.
More than 4,000 ballots across 45 counties fall into this category, while the number in 22 other counties is not known.
According to The Post, the number of ballots in question is probably not enough to change the outcome of the race.
Meanwhile, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum refused to concede to Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis in Florida’s governor race, USA Today reported.
DeSantis held an approximately 33,700 vote lead over Gillum following the machine recount, falling outside the 0.25 threshold, meaning no manual recount was triggered.
Gillum picked up one vote as a result of the recount.
The Democrat is hoping lawsuits that have been filed will lead to enough votes being added to his tally to require a manual recount.
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