Florida Senate race between Bill Nelson and Rick Scott goes to a hand recount

  • The deadline for recounting ballots in three contentious statewide races in Florida has passed.
  • The Senate race, between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, is now headed to a hand recount.
  • The state's 67 counties had until 3 p.m. Thursday to complete counting more than eight million votes.
Florida Governor Rick Scott greets people as he makes a campaign stop at Chico's Cuban Restaurant where he received an endorsement from the Florida Police Chiefs Association on June 14, 2018 in Hialeah, Florida. 
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
Florida Governor Rick Scott greets people as he makes a campaign stop at Chico's Cuban Restaurant where he received an endorsement from the Florida Police Chiefs Association on June 14, 2018 in Hialeah, Florida. 

The deadline for recounting ballots in three contentious statewide races in Florida has passed, yet the outstanding races for governor and senator have to yet to be decided.

The Senate race, between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, is now headed to a hand recount.

The state's 67 counties had until 3 p.m. Thursday to complete counting more than eight million votes.

Officials were racing until the last minute to finish statewide recounts in the contentious governor and senate races by a Thursday afternoon deadline. A federal judge denied a request to extend the deadlines just hours before it approached.

Earlier Thursday, a federal judge ordered that voters in Florida whose ballots were cast aside due to signature mismatches will have until Saturday to fix the problem. Affected voters are required to provide identification as well as affidavits. Scott's campaign said it would appeal the decision.

In Palm Beach County, a heavily populated Democratic area, Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher said that votes were not counted in time. Bucher said that despite a "heroic effort," the states third largest county could not overcome faulty equipment. That will leave the county's results as of Saturday in effect.

State officials ordered a hand recount in the tight Senate race between Scott and Nelson, the first in Florida history. A hand count is triggered if the margin is within a quarter of one percent. Scott was leading Nelson by less than 13,000 votes.

In the governor race between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum, DeSantis led by about 33,000 votes as of Thursday morning, about .41 percent.

The recounts have attracted nationwide scrutiny in a state with a population of more than 20 million people. The electorally crucial southeastern state — where a 2000 recount and subsequent legal battle determined the presidency — is no stranger to high-profile recounts.

In echoes of that 2000 fight, in which George W. Bush defeated Al Gore, Republicans have accused Democrats of attempting to steal the race. President Donald Trump demanded on Monday that the tight races be called in favor of Republicans because an "honest vote count is no longer possible."

Republican attacks escalated after the agency that oversees elections in Florida asked law enforcement to investigate allegations that the state Democratic Party had sent mailers with incorrect information to voters in four counties. It was not clear how many votes were affected.