The recount in Florida has put the state’s election machinery to the test, and it has failed miserably: Almost 3,000 votes have vanished, the New York Times reported, while Florida recounts three state and three local elections that have yet to be called.
The Florida secretary of state reported 900 fewer votes than were tallied originally, and that number is expected to balloon by 2,000 more votes when results from Broward County are reported. Although this number of votes would not necessarily swing the election from one candidate to another, it’s certainly enough to cause concern.
For example, Palm Beach County supervisor of elections Susan Bucher told the Times that there may be boxes of uncounted ballots and “dozens of precincts missing a significant number” of votes in the recount. Bucher said this is due to a ballot-scanning machine that has become overworked and overheated.
Hillsborough County and Miami-Dade County were also missing around 850 votes and 500 votes, respectively. Florida officials are claiming this is typical of a recount, but experts disagree.
“It is expected that as each set of results are due, the numbers will fluctuate some,” Sarah W. Revell, a spokesperson for the Florida secretary of state told the Times. “It is not indicative of a problem.”
E. John Sebes, founder of the non-profit Open Source Election Technology countered, telling the Times, “This is a big deal. If you have an election margin of 0.21 percent and a variance of 0.12 percent, the variance of your machine count is half the margin you are trying to correct. That’s kooky.”
The Senate race in Florida between Democratic Senator Bill Nelson and Republican Governor Rick Scott, meanwhile, will get a hand recount, as the machine recount placed Scott in the lead by only 0.15 percent, well within the 0.25 percent margin to require it. This will be the first statewide hand recount in Florida’s history. But while Nelson may gain a few votes, he is not expected to take the lead.