Despite completing the machine recount in time, the office of embattled Broward County elections supervisor Brenda Snipes missed the deadline for submitting its new results by just a few minutes Thursday, which happened to give both Republican candidates Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis even larger vote margins over their Democratic opponents.
"With just 15 minutes to go before Thursday’s deadline, Broward County finally finished recounting every vote," the Miami Herald reports. "At least, that’s what officials told reporters and the canvassing board at 2:45 p.m. In a surprise announcement at nearly 6 p.m., Broward’s director of elections planning, Joseph D’Alessandro, told the canvassing board the county actually turned in results to the state two minutes late. They won’t count officially."
"Basically I just worked my ass off for nothing," D’Alessandro said. "What caused it was my unfamiliarity with their website."
Since the office failed to submit them in time, the original results will stand.
So what did those now nullified machine recounts find? Democrats lost about 1,300 ballots, while Republicans lost about 600. In other words, the recount benefited both Republicans. In the case of Scott's contest against Bill Nelson, Scott came out 779 votes ahead in comparison to the initial count.
They found a discrepancy of 2,040 votes due to "a commingling of ballots," said D'Alessandro, who admitted, "We did not correctly handle the ballots."
So, despite having actually completed them with 15 minutes to spare, Snipes' team says they weren't able to properly submit them, wiping out all of that work they had just done — and the Republicans' gains. As the Herald notes, that suspicious sequence of events prompted Scott senior campaign advisor Brad Todd to suggest to MSNBC that the "error" was maybe not an error at all.
The manual recount in Broward has reportedly also wrapped up, and much more quickly than the Democrats hoped it would. Mother Jones' Pema Levy has been on the scene tracking the developments and has some bad news for Democrats.
"The hand recount in Broward is over for the Senate race," she reported Friday. "It was a blur it went so fast. Looks like Nelson didn't come close to making up the ground he needs."
The recount in Palm Beach County isn't expected to take too long, either, which also isn't a good sign for Democrats:
Heading into the recount, DeSantis and Scott led the races for governor and U.S. Senate by counts of 33,669 and 12,536, respectively. According to the 26 elections that have experienced a recount in recent history, the chances of either result being overturned was effectively zero. Only three of those 26 recounts resulted in a reversal of who won the election, but the average vote margin change was just 311 votes.
According to FairVote, between 2000 and 2016, 26 of the 4,687 statewide elections went to a recount, and the outcomes of only three reversed. "The 2004 Washington governor’s race, the 2006 Vermont state auditor’s race and the 2008 Minnesota U.S. Senate race," the Miami Herald reports. "The average swing in those three elections after the recounts? About 311 votes."