TAMPA, Fla. — The deadline has passed. All 67 Florida counties had until 12 p.m. to complete their mandatory hand recount.
- Counties complete mandatory recount
- Scott leading by 10,000 votes
- Fried leading by 5,000 votes
And while Broward County did make the hand recount deadline, they also hit another roadblock. Somehow they lost about 2,000 ballots.
Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes said they were either misplaced, misfiled, or mixed in with another stack.
Elections workers left work early on Saturday when the counting came to halt over the missing ballots.
But they did make Sunday's deadline with almost an hour to spare. Unlike the machine recount when Broward sent the results to the state two minutes late, so they had to revert to original vote totals.
And after a week of recounts, it appears after 46 years in public office, the Bill Nelson era as Florida's democratic Senator is over.
The latest margin between the two Senate candidates shows Rick Scott leading Nelson by roughly 10,000 votes.
For Nelson, a major setback was the large number of under votes in Broward County. Thousands of voters left the Senate race blank on their ballot.
Scott declared victory in the race on election night and has been calling on Nelson to concede. He may concede Sunday afternoon or wait until the results are certified on Tuesday. Nelson is set to make a statement at 3 p.m. Sunday.
The closest statewide race was the Commissioner of Agriculture.
Democrat Nikki Fried declared victory after all the recounts were turned in Sunday afternoon.
Fried won with just over a 6,000 vote margin. This makes Fried the only democrat to win a statewide office.
The state will certify the results on Tuesday.
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For Floridians who were here for the 2000 presidential election, this recount has been like deja vu. At that time, the stakes were higher and margins were closer.
President George W. Bush won by 537 votes over Al Gore following a recount that made its way to the supreme court.
After that happened, policies were put into place to standardize the state's process of counting votes.
Training for poll workers became more uniform, along with the process of counting provisional ballots.
Political expert Susan Macmanus believes next year's first legislative session will be focused on finding more solutions based on what we've learned this time around.
"I certainly think we'll be looking at the signature matches. That will be a big issue. And perhaps even the timing of recounts in light of the fact that our population is growing rapidly," Macmanus said.
Macmanus believes during the upcoming legislative session lawmakers could also focus on the time allowed for recounts since some counties are so much larger that others.