• FLORIDA RECOUNT: Bill Nelson concedes to Rick Scott in Senate race

    By: Chip Skambis , Monique Valdes , Kevin Williams , Jason Kelly , Sarah Wilson

    Updated:

    Story Highlights

    • Republican Gov. Rick Scott is leading incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in the state's contentious Senate race by 10,000 votes.
    • Deadline for potential hand recount was noon Sunday, Nov. 18.
    • Voters with rejected signatures had until Saturday at 5 p.m. to fix the issue.
    • The final vote will be certified Tuesday.

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The deadline for official results for the 2018 midterm elections has passed in Florida. 

    Supervisors of Elections had to recount ballots for a second time in two razor-thin races, including the Senate race, bringing back memories of the 2000 presidential fiasco.

    Final results appear to have been uploaded to the Secretary of State's website for the 2018 midterm election, with Rick Scott leading the senate race, Ron DeSantis leading for the governorship, and Nikki Fried leading the state agriculture commission race. 

    Here's a running list of the lawsuits filed in the Florida midterm election

     

    Check below for updates: 

    9:30 a.m. Monday

    The 2018 midterm election was the first to put Florida’s recount system to the test since the Bush-Gore recount of 2000.

    With election results finally set to be finalized Tuesday, election supervisors said there are still some holes that need to be fixed in the process.

    “We proved this week, we can recreate the election and make it right,” said the Orange County Supervisor of Elections, Bill Cowles.

    But Cowles and the Seminole County supervisor of elections, Mike Ertel, did suggest minor tweaks to the elections process.

    One suggestion included making early voting the priority. They said it helps avoid issues with ballots, voter intent and contacting voters if there's a problem.

    Another change would be to make the voting process for state and federal elections the same. They also said election equipment needs to be upgraded in many counties. 

    Broward County didn’t make the machine recount deadline because its ballot counting machines broke down. 

    With two years until the next presidential election, Cowles and Ertel said they hope that’s enough time to smooth out the process.

    >>> Click here to watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News live <<<

    3:05 p.m.

    Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is ending his bitterly close re-election bid by conceding the race to Republican Rick Scott.

    Nelson gave up the fight Sunday to Florida's outgoing governor on a day when Florida's counties had to submit their official results. Those results showed that the three-term incumbent trailed Scott by more than 10,000 votes.

    Nelson's concession capped tumultuous days of recounting and political tension in the perennial presidential swing state. It also will likely end the long-running political career of the 76-year-old Nelson. He was first elected to Congress nearly 40 years ago and then to the Senate in 2000.

    Nelson and Democrats had filed several lawsuits over the recount, but a federal judge rejected most of them.

    Florida will not officially certify the final totals until Tuesday.

     

    2:40 p.m.

    Florida's Republican Gov. Rick Scott says incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson called him to concede defeat in their extremely tight race.

    Scott issued a statement Sunday saying Nelson "graciously conceded" their Senate race shortly after the state's recount ended. The final results show Scott defeated Nelson by just over 10,000 votes out of 8 million cast. Nelson is scheduled to release a videotaped statement later Sunday.

    The defeat ends Nelson's lengthy political career. The three-term incumbent was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000. Before that he served six terms in the U.S. House and as state treasurer and insurance commissioner for six years.

    Scott spent more than $60 million of his own money on ads that portrayed Nelson as out-of-touch and ineffective. Nelson responded by questioning Scott's ethics and saying he would be under the sway of President Donald Trump.

    1:00 p.m. 

    Official results appear to have been uploaded to the Secretary of State's website for the 2018 midterm election, with Rick Scott leading the senate race, Ron DeSantis leading the governorship, and Nikki Fried leading the state agriculture commission race. 

    Though the Secretary of State's office hasn't announced an official tally, the website totals changed around 1 p.m. and indicated all recounts had been completed.

    Here are the results reported on the website: 

     

    Rick Scott: 4,099,505 votes received, 50.05 percent of the vote

    Bill Nelson: 4,089,472 votes received, 49.93 percent of the vote.

     

    Ron DeSantis: 4,076,186 votes received, 49.59 percent of the vote.

    Andrew Gillum: 4,043,723 votes received, 49.19 percent of the vote.

     

    Matt Caldwell: 4,026,201 votes received, 49.96 percent of the vote

    Nicole "Nikki" Fried: 4,032,954 votes received, 50.04 percent of the vote. 

     

    Bill Nelson's campaign said he will be making an announcement at 3 p.m. on the results of the election. 

    The state canvassing commission will certify the election results 9 a.m. on Nov. 20. 

    12 p.m. Sunday 

    Though the Secretary of State's office has yet to release an official tally, the results on the state website at noon had Rick Scott leading the senate race, Ron DeSantis leading the governors race, and Nikki Fried leading the state agriculture commission race. 

    Here are the vote totals reported at noon: 

     

    Rick Scott: 4,097,689 votes received, 50.07 percent of the vote

    Bill Nelson: 4,085,086 votes received, 49.92 percent of the vote.

     

    Ron DeSantis: 4,075,445 votes received, 49.59 percent of the vote.

    Andrew Gillum: 4,041,762 votes received, 49.18 percent of the vote.

     

    Matt Caldwell: 4,024,666 votes received, 49.97 percent of the vote

    Nicole "Nikki" Fried: 4,029,973 votes received, 50.03 percent of the vote. 

     

    State election officials were expected to announce the totals later Sunday, and will officially certify the results on Tuesday.

    The deadline comes a day after Democrat Andrew Gillum conceded the governor's race to Republican Ron DeSantis. Previous totals showed Gillum trailing DeSantis by more than 30,000 votes.

    Counties were legally required to do a machine recount after the initial results showed the race for governor and U.S. Senate very close. State officials then ordered a hand recount earlier in the week

    The state canvassing commission will certify the election results 9 a.m. on Nov. 20. 

    7:10 p.m. Saturday

    The campaign of Republican Ron DeSantis says it has no immediate response to Democrat Andrew Gillum's concession in the Florida governor's race but referred back to a statement Thursday in which DeSantis declared the contest "over."

    The earlier statement said the machine recount from the governor's race was "clear and unambiguous" just as it was on Election Night and that "with the campaign now over," DeSantis would be focusing to govern.

    In that statement, DeSantis also said he was humbled by the support he received and called it a "great honor the people of Florida have shown me as I prepare to serve as your next governor."

    Gillum posted a live video on Facebook on Saturday afternoon congratulating DeSantis. Gillum had conceded to DeSantis on election night, but retracted it after the margin between the two candidates narrowed. The race went to a legally required recount, but after an initial machine recount, DeSantis still led Gillum by more than 30,000 votes.

    5:15 p.m. 

    Democrat Andrew Gillum says he is ending his hard-fought race for Florida governor and has congratulated Republican Ron DeSantis.

    Gillum posted a live video on Facebook on Saturday afternoon in which he congratulated DeSantis. Gillum had conceded to DeSantis on election night, but retracted it after the margin between the two candidates narrowed. The race went to a legally required recount, but after an initial machine recount DeSantis still led Gillum by more than 30,000 votes.

    Gillum, who is Tallahassee's mayor, isn't saying what he plans to do next.

    "Stay tuned," he said in his brief remarks. Nonetheless, Gillum says he will remain politically active, adding "the fight for Florida continues."

    Gillum's announcement came hours after President Donald Trump said on Twitter that Gillum will be a "strong Democrat warrior" and a "force to reckon with."

     

    3 p.m. Saturday

    A South Florida elections official says that her office has misplaced more than 2,000 ballots.

    The South Florida Sun-Sentinel posted video Saturday of Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes saying that 2,040 ballots had been "misfiled." Snipes did insist that the ballots were still in the elections building.

    Snipes has already been under fire for the way her office has handled the election and recount.

    Counties across the state are in the middle of a hand recount for two statewide races including the race for U.S. Senate.

    State officials ordered a manual recount on Thursday after a machine recount showed that Republican Gov. Rick Scott led incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson by about 12,600 votes. More than 8 million voters cast ballots in the race.

     

    12 p.m. Saturday

    Officials say most of Florida's counties have finished their hand recount in the state's contentious U.S. Senate races.

    State officials ordered a manual recount on Thursday after a machine recount showed that Republican Gov. Rick Scott led incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson by about 12,600 votes. More than 8 million voters cast ballots in the race.

    At least 44 out of 67 counties have finished their hand recount in the Senate race. Many counties were spending Saturday doing a hand recount in another statewide race.

    Counties have until noon on Sunday to report official results to the Department of State.

    Several counties have posted hand recount updates on their websites. The totals for Nelson and Scott have changed slightly, but not significantly.

     

    9:45 p.m. Friday

    A federal judge is rejecting a lawsuit that challenged Florida's vote-by-mail deadlines.

    A veterans voting rights group and Democrats challenged the Florida law that said ballots mailed inside the United States could not be counted unless they were received by 7 p.m. Election Day.

    U.S. District Judge Mark Walker ruled late Friday that these rules were in place for more than a decade and to change them now would "undermine the electoral process."

     

    6 p.m. Friday

    U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson's campaign filed notice with the federal courthouse Friday evening saying Palm Beach County won't turn over machine recount totals.

    Nelson's team filed suit asking that all ballots be counted by hand in that county

    Staff members said they need those in order to determine if controversy there still exists.

    They want the judge to order them to turn those totals over. The judge has ordered an emergency hearing.

    On Thursday evening night, Nelson's team filed suit, asking that Palm Beach County elections officials count 600,000 ballots by hand.

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott's campaign said that would take too much time and that workers there have almost finished counting the undervotes and overvotes for the race.

    Judge Mark Walker had already denied a request to extend the counting deadline. He said he could not order it for just one county.

    He said the Florida Legislature was clear in the law that he could only do that in the event of an emergency and that broken machines don't fit that definition.

    The counting deadline is set for noon Sunday.

    Palm Beach County elections officials have said that they might not finish counting the Florida commissioner of agriculture race by the deadline.

    Results are scheduled to be certified on Tuesday.

     

    4 p.m. Friday

    Volunteers gathered around folding tables Friday to begin a painstaking hand recount in Florida's acrimonious U.S. Senate contest, with a goal of determining the intent of about 93,000 voters whose ballots for Republican Gov. Rick Scott or Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson could not be counted by machine.

    The hand recount is required by state law whenever candidates are separated by 0.25 percentage points or less. Unofficial results showed Scott ahead of Nelson by 0.15 percentage points, or fewer than 13,000 votes out of more than 8 million cast.

    In Broward County, officials relied on a color-coded system to tally some of the last ballots by hand.

    Ballots with clear votes for Republican Gov. Rick Scott went into a bin with a red tag. Clear votes for Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson went into one with a blue tag. Blank ballots went into a bin with a yellow tag. Anything that needed further examination by the canvassing board was dropped into one with a green tag.

    Dozens of volunteers sitting behind the bins stacked on folding tables in a Broward County warehouse cheered loudly when they finished their hand recount Friday morning. Results were not immediately announced.
     

    3:00 p.m. Friday

    Florida's bitter U.S. Senate contest is headed to a legally required hand recount after an initial review by ballot-counting machines showed Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson separated by less than 13,000 votes.
     
    But the contest for Florida governor between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum appeared to be over Thursday, with a machine recount showing DeSantis with a large enough advantage over Gillum to avoid a hand recount in that race. Gillum said in a statement, however, that "it is not over until every legally casted vote is counted."
     
    The recount has been fraught with problems. One large Democratic stronghold in South Florida was unable to finish its machine recount by the Thursday deadline due to machines breaking down. A federal judge rejected a request to extend the recount deadline.
     

    5:30 a.m. Friday

    According to the machine recount numbers reported by Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline, each candidate in Florida’s U.S. Senate race managed to boost their vote leads in specific counties.

    According to CNN, Scott picked up dozens of votes in Miami-Dade, Orange, Lee, Osceola and Seminole counties, while Nelson picked up votes in Alachua and Sarasota counties. 

    Overall, the machine recount results on Thursday for the Florida Senate seat show the race is virtually unchanged.

    Rick Scott’s camp said this race should be over.

    "We've had an election in Florida. We've counted all the votes.  We've recounted all the votes. Governor Scott is ahead of Senator Nelson,” said Brad Todd, senior advisor for the Rick Scott campaign.

    Scott's overall lead now stands at more than 12,000 votes, or 0.15 percent.
    The election now heads to a manual recount where so-called “under votes” and “over votes” are counted. That's when a voter either skips a race or votes twice for the same office.

    >>> Click here to watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News live <<<

    11 p.m. update

    CNN reports that Broward County elections officials missed the deadline for the recount by two minutes.

    U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson's team said Thursday that the Senate race is far from over.

    "It's never been our view that there was going to be one silver bullet that was going to change the margin in this race," Nelson's attorney said during a conference call Thursday evening.

     

    8:45 p.m.

    Election offices across Florida will have to hand count at a bare minimum almost 54,000 ballots in the U.S. Senate race.

    A survey of 64 of Florida's 67 counties by The Associated Press put the number of overvotes and undervotes Thursday evening at 53,769 ballots in the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and GOP Gov. Rick Scott.

     

    5:30 p.m.

    The races for U.S. Senate and Agriculture Commissioner are heading to a manual recount, according to the Florida Secretary of State's office.

    Unofficial results posted on the Florida secretary of state's website show that Republican Ron DeSantis is virtually assured of winning the nationally watched governor's race over Democrat Andrew Gillum. Florida finished a machine recount Thursday that showed Gillum without enough votes to force a manual recount.

    The margin between U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott is still thin enough to trigger a second review. State law requires a hand recount of races with margins of 0.25 percentage points or less.

    Click here to see all the results from Florida's midterm election

    Counties have until Sunday to inspect the ballots that did not record a vote when put through the machines. Those ballots are re-examined to see whether the voter skipped the race or marked the ballot in a way that the machines cannot read but can be deciphered.

    The election will be certified Tuesday.

    These are the numbers as of 5:10 p.m. Thursday:

    Florida Governor: 

    DeSantis / Nunez (REP) 4,075,445 votes received 49.59%
    Gillum / King (DEM) 4,041,762 votes received 49.18%
        MARGIN: 0.41%



    U.S. Senator: (Manual Recount Indicated)

    Rick Scott (REP) 4,097,689 votes received 50.07%
    Bill Nelson (DEM) 4,085,086 votes received 49.92%
        MARGIN: 0.15%



    Commissioner of Agriculture: (Manual Recount Indicated)

    Matt Caldwell (REP) 4,024,666 votes received 49.97%
    Nicole "Nikki" Fried (DEM) 4,029,973 votes received 50.03%
        MARGIN: 0.06%

     

    5 p.m.

    It’s been two hours since the recount deadline came and went and there's still no word from Florida’s Secretary of State on a winner in any of the big statewide races that were too close to call.

    Supervisors of Elections offices that were finished with their counts were supposed to upload the results to the state.

    Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum released a statement urging the recount to continue until the election is certified on Tuesday. 

    “A vote denied is justice denied — the State of Florida must count every legally cast vote," Gillum said. "As today’s unofficial reports and recent court proceedings make clear, there are tens of thousands of votes that have yet to be counted."

    We continue to monitor the state division of elections website, and we'll update you as soon as we hear more on WFTV.com and LIVE on Channel 9 Eyewitness News.

    WATCH LIVE: Channel 9 Eyewitness News
     

    4 p.m.

    The deadline has officially passed for Florida's 67 counties to complete their machine recount in several statewide races, including governor and U.S. Senate.

    Counties had until 3 p.m. to turn over results to Florida's Secretary of State, which will then announce the results.

    Palm Beach County's supervisor of elections said the county did not finish the recount in time and had to instead submit the original totals Saturday, the day the recount was ordered.

    The election will be certified Tuesday.

    The state's 67 counties were required to do machine recounts of more than 8 million ballots cast in the contentious midterms. The U.S. Senate and governor's races were among the three within the vote margin to trigger a machine recount.

    Several lawsuits have been filed by Democrats and Republicans in the wake of the close election.

    This is a story that could change at any moment. Watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News LIVE starting at 4 p.m. and download the free WFTV News app to get breaking news alerts.


    2 p.m.

    A federal judge in Tallahassee has denied a request to extend the looming deadline for recounts in the tight races for governor, Senate, and agriculture commissioner.

    U.S. District Judge Mark Walker on Thursday rejected a request by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Democrats to give counties more time to finish recounts. All 67 counties are required to submit the results of a machine recount by 3 p.m.

    Palm Beach County's election supervisor has already warned that the county will not be able to finish on time.

    In his ruling, Walker said he was concerned that some counties may not complete their work by the deadline. But he said there is a lack of information on when Palm Beach County would wrap up its work. 

    This is a developing story. Stay with WFTV.com as we work to gather what this means for counties in South Florida that are struggling to finish the recounts in time. Watch for live up-to-the-minute coverage starting on Channel 9 Eyewitness News at 4 p.m.

    1 p.m.

    Florida’s secretary of state is still going with the deadline of 3 p.m. Thursday for counties to complete their recounts after a judge ruled today that voters with mail-in ballot signature issues have until Saturday to fix the problem.

    WFTV's Shannon Butler reports that the numbers from those mail-in ballots can be added in before the Sunday hand-recount deadline. But officials don’t know how many people will actually come out to rectify issues with their signatures before the Saturday deadline.

    A list of more than 3,700 voters who had their votes tossed out during this election was presented to a federal judge during a hearing Wednesday.

    Out of 67 counties, 45 reported they had to throw out vote-by-mail and provisional ballots because signatures didn't match the ones on record.

    The judge was concerned that people did not have recourse once their votes were denied. So now, they have until 5 p.m. Saturday to sort it out.

    Rick Scott is appealing the decision. Hearings are still ongoing this afternoon, hours before the deadline.

    >>> Click here to watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News live <<<

    10 a.m.

    Sen. Bill Nelson's campaign released the follow statement in response to this morning's ruling that voters will have until Saturday at 5 p.m. to fix mail-in ballot signature issues.

    “Today’s decision is a victory for the people of Florida and for the Nelson campaign as we pursue our goal of making sure every legal ballot is counted. The court’s ruling impacts thousands of ballots, and that number will likely increase as larger counties like Broward add their ballots to the total pool which can be cured. We are taking several steps to ensure the rights of every Floridian are protected, and this is one major step forward.”  

    READ: Here's a running list of the lawsuits filed in the Florida midterm election

    8:30 a.m.

    The press secretary for Scott for Florida, Lauren Schenone, released the following statement in response to the ruling that voters will have more time to sort out mismatched signatures on mail-in ballots:

    “We are immediately appealing this baseless decision and we are confident we will prevail in the Eleventh Circuit. Let’s be clear- Bill Nelson’s high-priced Washington lawyers went to court to argue against a process that they previously argued for. It’s worth noting that Marc Elias is currently making THE EXACT OPPOSITE ARGUMENT in a similar case in Arizona. This also follows recent reports of the Democratic party encouraging and instructing voters to try to vote days after the legal deadline. Another day, another chance for Marc Elias to rack up massive legal fees regardless of the blatant hypocrisy… or the damage this will do to Bill Nelson’s legacy.”

    7:15 a.m.

     

    5:30 a.m. Thursday

    A federal judge just issued an injunction granting an extension to all voters who were told their signature on their ballot did not match the signature on file.

    They now have until Saturday at 5 p.m. to go to their supervisor of elections office and fix the issue.

    Tune in to WFTV live starting at 6 a.m. for the latest updates.

    11 p.m. update

    Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher is calling on lawmakers to change Florida's recount laws before the next election.

    "I think that this experience is going to help us work with the Legislature so that we can change and have some realistic expectation," she said.

    Workers re-tabulated 175,000 early voting ballots Wednesday.

    >>> Click here to watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News live <<<

    Bucher said she is worried that her office will not finish its recounts by the state's Thursday afternoon deadline.

    "We're in prayer mode to finish on time," she said.

    Palm Beach County Republicans said they want her to have to test her equipment more thoroughly.

    Read: Here's a running list of the lawsuits filed in the Florida midterm election

    Bucher said she never tested the machines for accuracy after mechanics made emergency fixes to machines.

    "We would have had that safety net, if you will, to make sure that when those ballots were re-run they were being run accurately," said David Shiner, general counsel for the Republican Party of Palm Beach County.

     

    6 p.m.

    A federal judge says he is unlikely to let Florida election officials automatically count thousands of mail-in ballots that have signatures that do not match those on file.

    Democrats are asking U.S. District Judge Mark Walker to throw out Florida's existing signature match law. They say untrained experts should not be allowed to decide if someone's signature on a mail-in ballot doesn't match the signature included on a registration form that could be years old.

    Walker has not yet ruled but said he may give voters extra time to fix their ballots.

    Here's a running list of the lawsuits filed in the Florida midterm election

    The lawsuit is one of a half-dozen related to Florida's ongoing recount that involves three statewide races including U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson's race against Gov. Rick Scott.

    Election officials testified that nearly 4,000 mail-in and provisional ballots have been rejected so far because of mismatched signatures.


     

    4 p.m.

    Florida's election recount drama is intensifying as lawyers return to court and tallying machines break down ahead of a Thursday deadline to complete reviews of the U.S. Senate and governor races.

    Some of the recount trouble centers on the Democratic stronghold of Palm Beach County, where tallying machines have overheated. That's caused mismatched results with the recount of 174,000 early voting ballots, forcing workers to go back and redo their work with no time to spare.

    "The machines are old," said Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher, who said they underwent maintenance right before the election. "I don't think they were designed to work 24/7 - kind of like running an old car from here to L.A. And so, you know, things happen to them."

    Old equipment, old laws: What has changed since 2000 Florida recount?

    Meanwhile, lawyers for Democrats planned to ask a federal judge Wednesday to set aside the state law mandating that mailed-in votes be thrown out if the signature on the envelope doesn't match the signature on file.


    Multiple lawsuits -- challenging everything from the rules used for recounts to Gov. Scott's role in supervising the state office that oversees elections -- are piling up in a Tallahassee federal court.

    The developments are fueling frustrations among Democrats and Republicans as the recount unfolds more than a week after Election Day. Democrats have urged state officials to do whatever it takes to make sure every vote is counted. Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have argued without evidence that voter fraud threatens to steal races from the GOP.

    Here's a running list of the lawsuits filed in the Florida midterm election

    Adding to the fray, a top attorney at the Florida Department of State sent a letter last week asking federal prosecutors to investigate whether Democrats distributed false information that could have resulted in voters having mail-in ballots disqualified.

    Four county supervisors turned over information that showed Democratic Party operatives changed official forms to say that voters had until two days after the election to fix any problems with mail-in ballot signatures. Under current law, a voter has until the day before Election Day to fix a problem.

    WATCH LIVE: Channel 9 Eyewitness News
     

    11:25 a.m.

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott will step down from the state panel responsible for certifying the results in the state's highly contested elections.

    Daniel Nordby, a lawyer for the Republican governor, told a federal judge Wednesday that Scott will recuse himself from the state's canvassing commission. The commission is a three-member panel that officially signs off on election results in state and federal races.

    Old equipment, old laws: What has changed since 2000 Florida recount?

    Scott is locked in a tight Senate race against U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson that is the subject of an ongoing recount. On Monday, Nelson requested that Scott recuse himself from the recount process.

    Scott appoints the state's chief election official responsible for ordering recounts. Ballots, however, are counted by local election officials.

    Scott is in Washington on Wednesday for orientation meetings and photo ops with newly elected U.S. Senators, even though the results of the election have not yet been certified. 

    Here's a running list of the lawsuits filed in the Florida midterm election

    10:40 a.m.

    Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections said the the county has completed its second recount of early votes after faulty machinery hindered the first count.

    >>> Click here to watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News live <<<

    9:30 a.m.

    7:15 a.m. Wednesday

    A judge will hear arguments asking to extend the deadline for Florida's recount later Wednesday morning.

    Sen. Bill Nelson's legal team filed a 21-page lawsuit asking for more time to recount the races for Florida's senate, governor, and agricultural commissioner.

    Nelson's camp filed the lawsuit when Palm Beach County made it clear it will not make Thursday's deadline to submit its vote totals. His team wants to give counties more time.

    READ: Here's a running list of the lawsuits filed in the Florida midterm election

    Results of the machine recounts are due Thursday.

    "The lawsuit is asking the court to suspend this deadline to say that this deadline is unenforceable until the recount is fully completed," said Michael Morley, a Florida State University assistant professor of law.

    Several hundred thousands of the ballots will be reviewed manually by canvassing boards across the state, which can also delay the recount process.

    After that point, races separated by a quarter percent or less will go to a manual recount.

    "There are going to be some paper ballots that the machines don't recognize as a valid vote. They're either what are called over votes where the machine thinks that someone tries to vote for more than one candidate or under votes which means the machine thinks somebody actually didn't try to vote for somebody in the race," Morley said.


    TRENDING NOW:


    10:30 p.m. Tuesday

    Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher said the office will have to start over on recounting early voting ballots.

    Bucher said her office's old, overheating machines have been overstressed by the recount and did not properly tabulate more than 170,000 early voting ballots.

    >>> Click here to watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News live <<<

    She said two mechanics have been brought in to service the machines.

    Election workers will staff the building 24 hours a day while the machines are being serviced, Bucher said.

    Officials did not say how long the repairs will take or how it could affect the county's timetable.

     

    9:30 p.m.

    Florida's Democratic gubernatorial candidate says claims of electoral fraud without evidence by President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Rick Scott were sowing seeds that could undermine confidence in the democratic process.

    Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum told a packed church of 200 supporters in Orlando on Tuesday night that he would fight "with every fiber in my body" to make sure that every vote is counted as Florida's 67 counties work to complete a machine recount and face the prospect of a manual recount.

    The machine recount was triggered in Gillum's gubernatorial race against his GOP opponent, Ron DeSantis, as well as in the U.S. Senate race between Scott and incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson.

    Gillum says claims by Trump and Scott about electoral fraud in counties that were taking time counting ballots were equivalent to trying to disenfranchise voters.

     

    7:25 p.m.

    U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and a Democratic campaign committee are continuing to file lawsuits over the recount now underway in Florida.

    Nelson and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee filed two lawsuits Tuesday. One asks a federal judge to set aside looming deadlines for machine and hand recounts of ballots to give all counties time to complete recounts.

    Nelson is trying to win a fourth term but is trailing Republican Gov. Rick Scott in a tight race.

    Marc Elias, a campaign attorney for Nelson, said every county should be given a chance to finish recounting the ballots in the race. There are concerns that some large counties will not be able to finish a hand recount if it is ordered.

    The deadline for the machine recount is Thursday.


    6:45 p.m.

    A Florida circuit judge is suspending looming recount deadlines, but her ruling applies to Palm Beach County only and does not apply to the U.S. Senate race between Bill Nelson and Rick Scott.

    Leon County Judge Karen Gievers ruled Tuesday that a machine recount in two other statewide elections, including the race for governor, can go beyond Thursday's deadline. Gievers also extended the deadline for a legislative race.

    Jim Bonfiglio, a Democrat running for the Legislature, filed the lawsuit asking that recount deadlines be suspended.

    Gievers agreed to the delay because Palm Beach does not have enough machines to do four recounts at the same time.

    It's not clear, however, if Gievers' ruling will remain in place. Lawyers for Secretary of State Ken Detzner have asked that the lawsuit be moved to federal court.
     

    6:30 p.m.

    The elections supervisor in the Florida county at the center of the vote recount has hinted that she might not run for re-election.

    Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes told reporters Tuesday that "it is time to move on" and that she believed she had fulfilled her duties. When asked directly if that meant she wasn't running for another four-year term in 2020, Snipes said no final decision had been made and she would check with her family.

    Who is Brenda Snipes, Broward County’s supervisor of elections?

    Snipes has held the Broward elections post since 2003, when she was appointed by then-Gov. Jeb Bush. She has won re-election since, despite a number of missteps and controversies that have led Republicans to accuse her of fraud.

    Authorities have not found any evidence of fraud.
     

    5 p.m.

    Sen. Bill Nelson's campaign has filed a new lawsuit seeking to extend the deadline for Florida counties to finish their machine recounts.

    "The lawsuit seeks to allow all local elections officials in the 67 Florida counties the time they say is needed to finish a legally mandated and accurate recount because the race was so close," the campaign said in a statement.

    Here's a running list of the lawsuits filed in the Florida midterm election

    News of the lawsuit comes as elections officials in Palm Beach County say they can only complete one race at a time, which means they expect to have the Senate race finished by the Thursday 3 p.m. deadline, but not the races for governor or agriculture commission.

    Channel 9 investigative reporter Christopher Heath has been looking into what's changed since the 2000 recount, and why the next recount could be even worse. Watch for his report on Channel 9 Eyewitness News at 5 p.m.

    WATCH LIVE: Channel 9 Eyewitness News

    4 p.m.

    With less than 48 hours to go until the deadline for counties to finish their machine recounts, one South Florida county already says they may not get things done in time.

    Elections officials in Palm Beach County said Tuesday they can only complete one race at a time, which means they expect to have the Senate race finished, but not the races for governor or agriculture commission.

    The county is a highly populated and densely Democratic area that could help determine the fate of the election. 

    Channel 9’s Field Sutton is tracking all of the develops from South Florida. Watch for his live reports starting on Channel 9 Eyewitness News at 4pm.

    WATCH LIVE: Channel 9 Eyewitness News
     

    3:30 p.m.

    The recount process has started -- then stopped again -- in Broward County.

     

    2 p.m.

    Tallahassee mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum is in Orlando on Tuesday evening for a "Count Every Vote" event.

    The event is hosted by Faith in Florida Action Fund and its partners. The event starts at 6 p.m. at the Saint Mark AME church on Bruton Boulevard.

    Gillum's running mate Chris King will also attend.

    Gillum originally conceded on Election Night to Republican opponent Ron DeSantis, but later recanted his concession as more votes were tallied, showing a narrower margin than it first appeared.

     

    12:30 p.m.

    Workers started recounting ballots in Broward County on Tuesday, a process that is expected to take 15 hours total.

    Channel 9’s Field Sutton is on the scene as the ballots are being scanned.

    The machines can scan about 5,000 ballots per hour. And election officials said they’ll likely split the ballots into chunks.

    The senate race, the governor's race and the agriculture commissioner's face are all on one page. So first, workers are separating that first page from the original ballots.

    Then they're scanning them.

    Election officials said the machines the spitting out any irregular ballots. Those could be ones with no vote in one of those races or with too many votes in one of those races.

    Officials said those ballots are being placed in the envelopes on the machines to be dealt with in the event of a potential hand recount.

    All ballots are under extra security this afternoon thanks to a ruling in Rick Scott's latest lawsuit against this office on Monday.

    That resulted in additional deputies being put at the office 24/7 while this recount progresses.


    10:35 a.m.


    10:15 a.m.

    Ron DeSantis tweeted Tuesday morning that he is assembling his transition team to take over the governor's seat as recounts continue across the state.

    9 a.m. Tuesday

    WFTV reporter Field Sutton is back at the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office Tuesday morning.

    He said the county hasn't started its actual recount yet. Instead, he said, they've been working on separating the first pages of the ballot from the rest.

    6:30 p.m.

    A judge appointed by Republican former Gov. Jeb Bush told attorneys and observers Monday to “ramp down the rhetoric,” and said he has seen no evidence of wrongdoing in the vote-counting in Broward County.

    State observers and law enforcement have found no evidence of fraud in Florida’s election, yet the term keeps getting thrown around without proof. On Thursday night, as Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Florida voters should be concerned about “rampant fraud” as he announced lawsuits against two South Florida counties and called for an FDLE investigation – without presenting any evidence of such fraud.

    With three statewide races as well as local races in the recount, some candidates, parties and even the president have made allegations of fraud even though the state said it has “found no evidence of criminal activity at this time.”

    In Central Florida, local leaders – both Republican and Democrat – say lobbing unfounded accusations is dangerous to the process.

    “I think the term ‘fraud’ has become a campaign tool and using [the term] may affect future voters’ decisions about participating,” said Orange County supervisor of elections Bill Cowles. 

    Cowles said several attorneys have been present for the recount process.

    Elections supervisors say the best way to overcome false allegations is to let observers come in and see the recount process.

    “We just want to make sure every vote is counted and it is done properly,” said Michelle Levy from the League of Women Voters, who was observing the recount process Monday in Orange County. 

    Meanwhile, the elections supervisor in heavily Republican Bay County told the Miami Herald on Monday that he allowed about 150 people to cast ballots by email, the Miami Herald reported. The county was devastated by a Category 4 hurricane in October, and Scott ordered some special provisions for early voting there. A statement that accompanied the order noted that returning ballots by email was not allowed under state law.

    5 p.m.

    One by one, every vote in Florida being re-scanned, with some areas moving faster than others.

    Counties have a Thursday deadline to re-tally the votes and submit it to the state, but even then, there may not be a clear winner.

    Most ballots from last Tuesday’s election are being scanned one more time, zipping through an optical scanner. The ballots that the machine won’t read are being copied to a new ballot, in clear view of both parties as well as any other interested observer.

    Channel 9 visited the recounted process in Orange and Seminole counties Monday, where volunteers are supervisors are recounting everything out in the open to remove any notion that something was done in secret.
     


    While the recount process in Central Florida has so far been smooth, other places are having more difficulty. In South Florida, it took until Monday for Palm Beach County to definitively say it would complete the recount in time for the Thursday deadline. The county must complete three recounts with outdated equipment.

    But Broward County will require twice the manpower. The county must recount 714,000 ballots – almost twice as many as Orange County.

    Channel 9's Christopher Heath and Field Sutton are sorting through the legal matters and closely following the ins and outs of the recount. Watch for his live reports all evening on Channel 9 Eyewitness News.

    WATCH LIVE: Channel 9 Eyewitness News

    4 p.m.

    More security is on its way to Broward County's supervisor of elections office to help oversee the recounts in three major races. The increased security is an agreement by both sides as a result of a new lawsuit against the county and its elections office.

    Inside a Broward County courtroom, lawyers met to discuss two new lawsuits from Gov. Rick Scott: One accusing Elections Supervisor Dr. Brenda Snipes of counting votes after the state deadline that passed at noon on Saturday, the other asking sheriff's deputies in Broward County to impound election equipment as well as ballots while things get sorted out in the legal system. Instead, both sides agreed to more security.

    Read more: Here's a running list of the lawsuits filed in the Florida midterm election

    Protesters have been gathered outside the office on a regular basis since last week.

    Channel 9's Field Sutton is in Broward County sorting through the legal matters and closely following the ins and outs of the recount. Watch for his live reports all evening on Channel 9 Eyewitness News.

    WATCH LIVE: Channel 9 Eyewitness News

    1 p.m.

    Sen. Bill Nelson, whose political life hangs in the balance over a recall for the U.S. Senate race, is calling on his opponent, Gov. Rick Scott, to recuse himself from any role in the recount process.

    Last Thursday, Scott called on the FDLE to investigate elections offices in Broward and Palm Beach counties, while making unsubstantiated claims of fraud. Scott's campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee also filed a lawsuit Thursday demanding that Broward Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes be ordered to turn over several records detailing the counting and collection of ballots cast in Tuesday's election. 

    12:25 p.m.

    Election workers in Seminole County are focused on counting early voting ballots on Monday after finishing up with the ballots cast on Election Day on Sunday.

    The Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Office said they plan to wrap up recounting the mail-in ballots Tuesday.

    So far, election officials said, the recount in Seminole has matched the county’s initial counts from Election Day.

     

    10:45 a.m.

    10 a.m.

    President Donald Trump weighed in on Twitter Monday morning with his opinions on the ongoing Florida election recounts.

    In a tweet he said, "An honest vote count is no longer possible."

    5:15 a.m. Monday

    Members of the Broward County canvassing board are counting ballots around the clock to make sure they meet the Thursday deadline to have all of their vote totals counted.

    7:50 p.m.

    Miami-Dade County elections officials say they've started recounting ballots from Tuesday's election.

    Officials from the county's elections office confirmed Saturday evening that they've started a machine recount, which means they will load paper ballots into scanning machines. This could take days, considering there were some 800,000 ballots cast.

    The unofficial results show that Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis led Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by less than 0.5 percentage points, which will require a machine recount of ballots.

    In the Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott's lead over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson is less than 0.25 percentage points, which will require a hand recount of ballots from tabulation machines that couldn't determine which candidate got the vote.

    The Florida secretary of state earlier Saturday ordered the recounts in the U.S. Senate and governor races, an unprecedented review of two major races in the state that took five weeks to decide the 2000 presidential election.

    Nov. 15 is the deadline for each county to submit vote counts to the state.

    6:15 p.m.

    A lawyer for Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson says the campaign is looking into whether vote-by-mail ballots handled by the same U.S. mail facility that processed explosive packages intended for Democratic leaders weren't delivered on time.

    Marc Elias says he's concerned about news reports that ballots in an Opa-locka postal facility may not have been delivered before the 7 p.m. Election Day deadline. Opa-locka is in Miami-Dade County, which tends to heavily support Democratic candidates.

    Elias says, "I would hope that we can all agree, I would hope that even folks on the other side of the aisle would agree that no one should be disenfranchised because the postal service, for one reason or another, was unable to deliver ballots."

    A 30-count indictment was handed up recently in Manhattan federal court against 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc of Plantation, Florida. Authorities say he sent improvised devices intended for numerous Democrats, critics of President Donald Trump and CNN. None of the devices exploded and no one was hurt.

    5:40 p.m.

    Two voting rights groups are asking Gov. Rick Scott to remove himself from any oversight of the 2018 election. They said that if he doesn't, they will take him to court.

    In a letter to Scott released to the media, the League of Women Voters and Common Cause said he should step down to ensure there's no appearance of any impropriety, undue influence or conflict of interest.

    The groups said that Scott intentionally "politicized" his oversight of the elections by calling for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate his suspicions of voter fraud in South Florida.

    The FDLE said it hasn't launched an investigation of voter fraud, and the state's election division, which Scott runs, said Saturday that its observers in Broward had seen "no evidence of criminal activity."

    In the Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott's lead over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson is less than 0.25 percentage points, which will require a hand recount of ballots from tabulation machines that couldn't determine which candidate got the vote.

    4:30 p.m.

    Republican Ron DeSantis says Florida election results are clear and he is moving forward as he prepares to be the state's next governor.

    "Those results are clear and unambiguous, just as they were on Election Night," DeSantis, a former congressman, said in a video posted Saturday on YouTube by the Republican Party of Florida.

    Unofficial election results submitted Saturday show DeSantis ahead of Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by less than 0.5 percentage points. Under state law, that margin requires a machine recount of ballots.

    While DeSantis said it's important to follow state law, he added, "With the election behind us, it's now time to come together as a state as we prepare to serve all Floridians."

    3:40 p.m.

    Democrat Andrew Gillum has withdrawn his concession in the Florida gubernatorial race following a recount.

    "I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every single vote," Gillum said at a press conference in Tallahassee on Saturday.

    Unofficial election results showed Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis ahead of Gillum by less than 0.5 percentage points. Under state law, such a margin requires a machine recount of ballots.

    Gillum had conceded the race to DeSantis on Tuesday night.

    1:55 p.m.

    The Florida secretary of state is ordering recounts in the U.S. Senate and governor races, an unprecedented review of two major races in the state that took five weeks to decide the 2000 presidential election.

    Secretary Ken Detzner issued the order on Saturday after the unofficial results in both races fell within the margin that by law triggers a recount.

    The unofficial results show that Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis led Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by less than 0.5 percentage points, which will require a machine recount of ballots.

    In the Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott's lead over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson is less than 0.25 percentage points, which will require a hand recount of ballots from tabulation machines that couldn't determine which candidate got the vote.

    12:40 p.m.

    The deadline to submit unofficial vote tallies in Florida's election has passed.

    County elections supervisors had until noon Saturday to submit results. Now the state must announce whether recounts are needed in the U.S. Senate and governor races.

    As the deadline arrived, Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis led Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by less than 0.5 percentage points in the governor's race, which would require a machine recount of ballots.

    In the Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott's lead over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson was less than 0.25 percentage points, which would require a hand recount of ballots in which tabulation machines couldn't detect a vote.

    11:40 a.m.

    The recounting of Senate and gubernatorial ballots is underway in Florida's second most-populous county after it fixed problems with its machines.

    Broward County began counting about 700,000 ballots Sunday after a more than two-hour delay caused by a tested machine that wasn't registering all ballots. Republican representatives asked that all machines be retested and county officials agreed.

    The heavily Democratic county is one of two where Republicans have made allegations of possible ballot fraud. State elections and law enforcement officials say they have seen no evidence suggesting the allegations are true.

    The Florida secretary of state ordered the recounts Saturday. The count must be completed by Thursday.

    Unofficial results show that Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis led Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by less than 0.5 percentage points. In the Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott's lead over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson is less than 0.25 percentage points.

    9:40 a.m.

    The recounting of Senate and gubernatorial ballots has been delayed in Florida's second most-populous county because of problems with the machines.

    Broward County is scheduled to begin counting about 700,000 ballots Sunday morning, but a tested machine wasn't registering all ballots. Republican representatives asked that all machines be retested and county officials agreed.

    The heavily Democratic county is one of two where Republicans have made allegations of possible ballot fraud. State elections and law enforcement officials say they have seen no evidence suggesting the allegations are true.

    The Florida secretary of state ordered the recounts Saturday. The count must be completed by Thursday.

    Unofficial results show that Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis led Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by less than 0.5 percentage points. In the Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott's lead over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson is less than 0.25 percentage points.

    12:05 a.m. Sunday

    Elections workers are beginning to recount ballots in Florida's U.S. Senate and governor races under a state-ordered review of the two nationally watched races.

    Miami-Dade County election officials began feeding ballots into scanning machines Saturday evening, among the first in Florida's 67 counties tasked with a Nov. 15 deadline to submit vote counts to the state.

    The Florida secretary of state ordered the recounts Saturday.

    Unofficial results show that Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis led Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by less than 0.5 percentage points. In the Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott's lead over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson is less than 0.25 percentage points.

    5:30 p.m. Saturday 

    Candidates have released statements reacting to the orders for machine recounts in three statewide races. 

    Sen. Bill Nelson, the Democratic candidate in the US Senate race, said in a written statement he believes that once all votes are counted, he will be declared the victor in the race. 

    “This process is about one thing: making sure every legal ballot is counted and protecting the right of every Floridian to participate in our democracy. Since Tuesday, the gap has shrunk from roughly 60,000 votes to about 12,500 – the margin has reduced by 78 percent and is now roughly .15 percent," said Nelson in a written statement.

    "We have every expectation the recount will be full and fair and will continue taking action to ensure every vote is counted without interference or efforts to undermine the democratic process. We believe when every legal ballot is counted we’ll win this election," he said. 

    Chris Hartline, a spokesman for Nelson's opponent, Republican Rick Scott, said their campaign's 12,562 vote lead is insurmountable. 

    "The voters of Florida have spoken and Rick Scott was elected to the United States Senate in a close but decisive victory. The margin of victory is larger than any recount since 2000 has ever closed, with the average recount changing the outcome by just a few hundred votes. It’s time for Senator Nelson to accept reality and spare the state of the Florida the time, expense and discord of a recount,” said Hartline in a written statement. 

    Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, who trails his opponent Republican Ron DeSantis by about 33,600 votes, made a call at a press conference that every vote in the state be counted. 

    "I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every vote -- and I say this recognizing my fate in this may or may not change," said Gillum. "In America, we count every vote, regardless of what the outcome may be." 

    DeSantis released a video statement Saturday afternoon stating he believes a recount will not change the current result in his race. 

    "Supervisors of Elections submitted their unofficial results to the Secretary of State. Those results are clear and unambiguous, just as they were on election night," he said in the statement. 

    DeSantis said he and his transition team plan to charge forward "with the election behind them" and urge Floridians to come together as he prepares to assume office. 

    In an email to supporters, the Democratic candidate for Florida agriculture commissioner, Nikki Fried, declared victory in her race and asked for volunteers and contributions for the recount process.

    "In me, you have a Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services who will put science before politics. I will put our waterways first, ensure full background checks are completed on gun permits, and be a fierce advocate for expanding access to medical marijuana for suffering Floridians. I will work for ALL the people of this state," she wrote in the email. 

    But her opponent, Republican Matt Caldwell, is not conceding the race, in which Fried currently has about a 3,500-vote lead. He said in an interview with Channel 9's Deanna Allbrittin his campaign still has questions about where certain votes came from. 

    "We went to bed Tuesday night with 40,000 plus vote lead and over the last four days, you've had magical ballots just appear out of nowhere that has flipped that result. Where did the ballots come from? When were they cast? Until we get those answers, we can't even focus on the next step of this process," he said.  

    Results for the machine recounts from all 67 Florida counties are due no later than Thursday, Nov. 15 at 3 p.m. 

    Once the results from the machine recounts are in, if any races are separated by less than .25 percent of the vote, as the US Senate and agriculture commission races currently are, the Secretary of State will order manual, hand recounts for those races, said Department of State spokeswoman Sarah Revell. 

    Revell said Saturday that recounts can't begin until the county canvassing boards post a public meeting notice, hold that meeting and then do a public test of equipment.

    1:30 p.m.

    Florida's Secretary of State Ken Detzner officially ordered machine recounts in three statewide races: US Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner

    Vote totals for each of those races places them under the .5 percent margin that triggers an automatic machine recount, the website states. 

    Results from the machine recount are due to the Secretary of State by 3 p.m. Thursday, according to the website

    Here's a copy of the Secretary of State's announcement of the recounts: 

    The first unofficial set of returns for the U.S. Senate, Governor and Commissioner of Agriculture races has met the statutory threshold to trigger a machine recount. As required under Florida law, a statewide machine recount has been ordered by the Secretary of State. The orders are attached.

    The results of the machine recount (also referred to as the second unofficial set of returns) are due no later than 3 p.m. on Thursday, November 15 to the Florida Department of State.

    Florida’s timeline for the reporting and certification of election results, which includes the process for possible recounts for any races on the ballot, is available in detail on the Division of Elections website.  

    For additional background information on the recount process, please see Sections 102.141(7) and 102.166, Fla. Stat. (2013), and Rule 1S-2.031, Fla. Admin. Code.  
     

    Once the results from the machine recounts are in, if any races are separated by less than .25 percent of the vote, as the US Senate and agriculture commission races currently are, the Secretary of State will order manual, hand recounts for those races, said Department of State spokeswoman Sarah Revell. 

    Revell said Saturday that recounts can't begin until the county canvassing boards post a public meeting notice, hold that meeting and then do a public test of equipment.

    12 p.m. 

    As the deadline for Florida's supervisors of elections to report the first slate of unofficial vote totals to the Department of State passes, here are the numbers the state reported at noon. 

    The U.S. Senate race between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Bill Nelson is separated by around 12,500 votes with Scott in the lead. That difference is around .15 percent of the vote, per the state website.

    The Governor's race between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum is separated by around 33,600 votes with DeSantis in the lead. That difference is around .41 percent of the vote, per the state's website

    The race for Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer services between Republican Matt Caldwell and Democrat Nikki Fried is separated by about 5,300 votes with Fried in the lead. That difference is around .06 percent of the vote, per the state's website

    Though there's a note under each of these races saying "machine recount indicated," state officials have not said if these numbers constitute the final unofficial count that will be used to determine which races enter into recounts. 

    Here's an explainer on who can call the recount and how it would work.

    As yet, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner has not released official word on what recounts have been ordered. 

    10 a.m. Saturday

    After an emergency hearing Saturday morning, Circuit Judge Krista Marx extended the deadline for the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections to abide by her court order by noon. 

    Judge Marx on Friday ordered Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher to give the county canvassing board any duplicate ballots and any "overvoted" or "undervoted" ballots that have not yet been provided to the board by 10 a.m. Saturday.

    The judged extended the deadline Saturday to noon and further ordered Bucher to be in "substantial compliance with providing the original and duplicate ballots that were reviewed solely by the defendant's staff by this deadline." 

    11 p.m. Friday

    Attorneys for Gov. Rick Scott said it's still unclear if the Broward County supervisor of elections fully complied with a court ruling to hand over election records.

    They said they received some records, but they're still trying to figure out if they got everything they asked for.

    On Friday morning, a judge in Palm Beach County granted Scott's request to get records on ballots that have been duplicated. The ruling decided the ballots need to be made public so they can be scrutinized.

    There are new questions about what happened to ballots behind closed doors in Palm Beach County.

    A hearing is scheduled for Saturday morning in Palm Beach County to reconsider the decision, because county attorneys said the ballots are already mixed in with the rest.

    Friday's court rulings do not affect Saturday's noon deadline for the vote totals from all counties. That's when we'll know if the recounts will be ordered.

     

    8 p.m.

     

    6 p.m.

    Protesters have gathered outside the Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office as a deadline looms over officials, who were ordered by a judge Thursday to turn over voter information requested by Gov. Rick Scott.


    Broward County is critical to Democrats, who believe there may be enough uncounted votes to turn both the Governor's and Senate races in their favor.


    4:45 p.m.

    A deadline looms over Broward County elections officials, after a judge ordered the immediate release of voter information sought by Florida Gov. Rick Scott from the county's supervisor of elections.

    Circuit Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips set a 7 p.m. Friday deadline for Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes to turn over the voter information under Florida's open records laws. Phillips found that Snipes violated that law by failing to turn over the information to attorneys for Scott's Senate campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

    Lawyers for Snipes argued that requiring such a swift response would interfere with ongoing efforts to finish counting Broward County ballots. But lawyers for Scott contended the information is already required to be collected under state law and should take minutes to provide.

    The information sought includes ballots not yet reviewed by the Canvassing Board, absentee ballots and early voting ballots.

    This is a developing story. Watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News Friday afternoon to get up-to-the-minute updates on what's happening live. 

    3:45 p.m.

    Sen. Bill Nelson has released a video statement -- his first statement of any kind since the election.

    "I won't stand for anyone using his position to undermine our democratic process, and neither should the people of Florida," Nelson said. "[Rick] Scott is abusing the full force of his public office as governor to stop a complete and accurate counting of all the votes in Florida, which would determine whether he wins or loses."

    This is a developing story. Watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News Friday afternoon to get up-to-the-minute updates on what's happening live. 

    1 p.m.

    A group of about 30 sign-holding Republican protesters gathered outside the office of Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes, singing "The Star Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America."

    As the counting of ballots resumed Friday afternoon, Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz called Snipe "either incompetent or corrupt" and accused her of "spinning ballots out of nothing" in the Senate seat between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson.

    Gaetz, whose district is in Florida's Panhandle, also said the state should take over the Broward elections office.

    Protesters held signs that said, "Brenda Snipes has to go," ''stop creating votes" and "don't steal our election."

    UPDATE 12:32 p.m.

    Another lawsuit was filed Friday by Sen. Bill Nelson’s campaign and other democrats are suing Secretary of State Ken Detzner in Tallahassee. 

    They are seeking an injunction to extend the deadline for county supervisors of elections to turn in unofficial vote counts.

    Nelson's attorney called a press conference by the governor Thursday night, “a sign of desperation.”

    Attorney Marc Elias said that as votes continue to be counted Friday, they expect the gap to close even more.

    Elias said Nelson has a real chance to win, but to do that, all votes need to be counted and that's why they want the deadline to be extended.

     

     

    Nelson and the Florida Democratic Party are suing to prevent elections officials statewide from throwing out mail-in votes and provisional ballots. They also have asked a federal court to extend the deadline for counties to submit unofficial election results.

    Gov. Rick Scott's campaign wasted no time firing back on the filing, saying the lawsuit is a way to ask the courts for voter fraud. 

    Campaign officials said in a statement that Nelson’s entire campaign has been a fraud, and that it was a, “Sad way to end his career.”

    UPDATE 8:55 a.m.

    A court in South Florida has been asked to intervene in the tight U.S. Senate race between Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott as the two sides prepare for a possible recount. A hearing was set for 3 p.m. in state court.

    Scott filed lawsuit against Broward County Supervisors of Election Brenda Snipes Thursday night, asking the court to order Snipes to turn over several records detailing the counting and collection of ballots. Scott's thin lead over Nelson has narrowed in the vote-counting in the days since he declared victory on Tuesday night.

    Without citing any evidence of wrongdoing, Scott also asked Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate elections offices in the Democratic strongholds of Palm Beach and Broward counties, questioning whether they have been taking too long in some sort of effort to inflate the Democratic vote.

     

     

     

    ____

     UPDATE 12:42 a.m.

    Razor-thin margins in Florida's bitter races for the U.S. Senate and governor are raising the possibility of recounts, potentially prolonging two of the most closely watched contests of the nation's midterm elections.

    In the governor's race, Democrat Andrew Gillum's campaign said Thursday it's readying for a possible recount. He conceded to Republican Ron DeSantis on Tuesday night, though the race has since tightened. DeSantis led Gillum by 0.47 percentage point as of Thursday afternoon.

    Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has begun preparing for a potential recount in a race that is still too close to call against Republican Gov. Rick Scott. Scott held a 0.21 percentage lead over Nelson on Thursday afternoon.

    The tight races underscored Florida's status as a perennial swing state where elections are often decided by the thinnest of margins.

    In 2000, Florida decided the presidency by a few hundred votes in a contest that took more than five weeks to sort out.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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