The day after, the counting continues
It's the day after, counties are still counting and there might be a lot of counting yet ahead. Manatee County is tallying 50,000 absentee ballots. A few races are so close that unofficial election returns show a difference of less than half of 1 percent, which will trigger a machine recount of all ballots cast in that race.
The three-member Statewide Canvassing Commission will meet Saturday evening in Tallahassee, after counties send their first unofficial returns to the state by Saturday's noon deadline. That is when the commission would order machine recounts in those close races with a difference of less than half of a percent. The recount could include Constitutional Amendment 3, which at the moment is passing with 60.4 percent of the vote, a 10th of a percentage point below the margin required to put it out of recount range. A statewide machine recount would apply to all 67 counties.
Besides two very close state House races in districts 9 and 11, Secretary of State Kurt Browning said machine recounts may be needed in a circuit judge race in Monroe County and the contest for public defender in the circuit that covers DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties.
Browning is still awaiting provisional ballot totals from all 67 counties. (They will be posted on the state elections web site, www.dos.state.fl.us, later on Wednesday.)
So why wasn't turnout higher? Projections had turnout statewide at 80 to 85 percent, but the final figure will be in the low 70s. Browning's explanation: "I don't have one. I really don't. I think everybody came to the party early." The level of the voters' engagement was "not to the extent that I thought they would be," he said.