Florida’s secretary of state announced Saturday that there will be recounts in the Senate and gubernatorial races after the races became tight enough to trigger them — amid controversy over the handling of the counts, which has sparked anger from Republicans
Secretary Ken Detzner issued the order after the unofficial results in both races fell within the margin that by law triggers a recount.
The votes in the Senate race between Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott, and the gubernatorial race between Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis and Democratic mayor of Tallahassee Andrew Gillum, will be recounted.
The mandatory recount occurs if the winning candidate’s margin is less than 0.5 percent. If the margin is less than 0.25 percent, the recount must be done by hand.
Both Scott and DeSantis led their races after the midterms on Tuesday, with Gillum conceding to DeSantis. But as the days went on, and more votes were counted, those leads have all but disappeared. Scott’s lead by Saturday afternoon was reduced to 0.15 percent and DeSantis’ was 0.41 percent.
The shrinking leads quickly led to suspicions from Republicans that foul play was afoot in Democratic strongholds of Broward and Palm Beach counties. President Trump on Saturday told reporters that “they are finding votes out of nowhere.”
“What’s going on in Florida is a disgrace,” he said.
Scott has asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the counties’ election departments, but a spokeswoman told the Associated Press there would be no investigation as there was no credible allegation of fraud.
In a sign of the turmoil that could ensue, protesters gathered outside the Broward elections office ahead of the announcement.
The announcement was likely to bring back memories for Floridians of the tempestuous 2000 presidential election, where a recount that went all the way to the Supreme Court in the state decided the result of the election — with George W. Bush eventually nudging out Democratic candidate Al Gore.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.