State orders machine recounts in two races
Meeting during the FSU-Clemson game, the state canvassing commission voted Saturday to order machine recounts in two state races in which the trailing candidate is behind bt less than half of a percentage point. One race is House District 11 where Democrat Debbie Boyd has a 158-vote lead or 0.2 percent over Republican Elizabeth Porter. That's a landslide compared to the contest for circuit judge in the Keys, where Tegan Slaton leads Mary Vanden Brook by 13 votes out of nearly 33,000 votes cast.
Both are so close that Secretary of State Kurt Browning said it's likely that both will be subjected to manual recounts of overvoted and undervoted paper ballots next week.
But step one is a machine recount, requiring all ballots to be re-fed through scanners. The equipment can be set so that no other race is re-counted. Affected counties (6 in the House race, 1 in the judicial race) must report totals to the state by 3 p.m. next Thursday. If you detect a sigh of relief from state election supervisors, that's because a third race, Constitutional Amendment 3, just missed requiring a statewide recount by .02 percent.
The members of the canvassing body are Gov. Charlie Crist, Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp and Attorney General Bill McCollum. All three voted by phone with Kottkamp at the FSU-Clemson game, which hopefully won't require a recount.