MAGIC WALL: Florida braces for recounts in Senate and Governor races

Broward County is still counting ballots, and its election supervisor is unable to say how many more votes are out there.

Posted: Nov 10, 2018 8:07 PM
Updated: Nov 10, 2018 8:23 PM

The lawyer for Senate candidate Rick Scott said Friday that the Florida Republican's team is fully anticipating a recount in its Senate race against incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

"There's going to be a recount for sure. And it's a waiting game," William Scherer said in an interview Friday night on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront."

He added later, "We're fully expecting it."

As of Friday, Scott, currently serving as Florida's governor, held a slim lead over Nelson of just under 15,000 votes; the lead has narrowed as votes are being counted.

Democrats believe there are enough ballots left to be counted that Nelson could eke out a win.

A lawyer for Nelson is also predicting a recount in the close contest.

"I would expect when we go into a machine recount and then a hand recount, right now the results are unknown who has won, and if I had to place a bet, I would say it is more likely than not Sen. Nelson will prevail in a recount," Democratic lawyer Marc Elias said during a phone call with reporters Friday.

Florida law mandates that any races within 0.5% margins go to a machine recount. For races that are within 0.25% after that machine recount, a hand recount would be initiated of ballots marked as undervotes (voters who did not fill out all available choices on the ballot) or overvotes (voters who made more choices than allotted on the ballot).

Scherer was one of the lawyers representing George W. Bush in the Florida recount in the 2000 presidential election. He told CNN on Friday that this Senate race is déjà vu.

Several prominent GOP lawyers are in Florida helping to advise Republicans in the state.

Ben Ginsberg, who also worked on the 2000 Florida recount for Bush, is in the state working with Republicans now, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Campaign finance lawyer Jason Torchinsky and Mike Toner, a former Republican National Committee chief counsel and former Federal Election Commission chairman, are also helping Florida Republicans, according to a White House official.

A Republican National Committee official said the organization has lawyers in the state and is sending additional lawyers "who are on their way now."

The race between Scott and Nelson, a three-term incumbent, has been one of the nation's most closely watched Senate contests.

There has been a flurry of legal action in the Florida US Senate contest from both parties.

Nelson's re-election campaign filed a lawsuit Friday against Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner over vote-by-mail ballots and the process used to validate them. The lawsuit asks for all votes cast by vote-by-mail ballots or those "determined to involve a signature mismatch, be counted as valid votes."

Scott and the National Republican Senatorial Committee won lawsuits Friday against the Broward County supervisor of elections and the Palm Beach County supervisor of elections, meaning the election supervisors must comply with his requests for certain vote-related information.

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