Three Florida Legislature races are headed to a recount

The high-profile Senate District 18 race between Janet Cruz and Dana Young is headed for a machine recount. It's the one seat Democrats hope to pick up in the Florida Senate.
Republican incumbent Dana Young and Democratic challenger Janet Cruz are seeking election in state Senate District 18.
Republican incumbent Dana Young and Democratic challenger Janet Cruz are seeking election in state Senate District 18.
Published Nov. 10, 2018|Updated Nov. 10, 2018

This is a story about Florida recounts. No, not those Florida recounts. Other Florida recounts.

The Florida division of elections has ordered machine recounts in three Florida Legislature races: the Tampa race between Democrat Janet Cruz and Republican Dana Young for Senate District 18; the race for House District 26 between Democrat Patrick Henry and Republican Elizabeth Fetterhoff and the race for House District 89 between Democrat Jim Bonfiglio and Republican Mike Caruso.

Cruz led Young  by just 376 votes as of Saturday's election results filing deadline, according to the Florida Elections website. Fetterhoff led Henry by just 59 votes and Bonfiglio led Caruso by just 37 votes. All three races are  well within the 0.5 percent margin that triggers an automatic recount by Florida law.

The races will now head to a machine recount, where local supervisors of elections will re-scan ballots to make sure no systematic counting error occurred. Counties with electronic voting machines compare the number of total votes cast according to the machines with the total vote count that the county initially reported. If the numbers match up, the county assumes the vote was reported accurately.

If the margin in the two races is still within 0.25 percent after the first recount, local elections supervisors will conduct a hand recount of all undervotes — ballots in which voters either did not mark either candidate or the marking is in dispute, and overvotes — ballots in which a voter marked more than one selection. But they'll only do so if the total number of overvotes and undervotes is enough to make up the margin between the candidates.

With these races already so close, it's hard to see a scenario without multiple recounts. Strap in.

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