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Lee County recounts votes for state races

Posted at 10:26 PM, Nov 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-11 22:26:17-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Nearly a week after election day Lee County, along with every other county in Florida, is recounting ballots.

Results in three state races - governor, senate and agriculture commissioner are close enough to trigger a recount. That happens when those elected win by half a percentage point or less. 

The recount came to no surprise to Lee County Elections Supervisor Tommy Doyle.

“As soon as election night was over we already started preparing for that recount,” he said.

He said his team will be working 14 hour shifts for the next few days to meet the state’s recount deadline this Thursday.

“The first process is a machine recount, which means that we run every ballot through our scanners to recount the votes, see if we can reconcile make sure no extra votes were picked up or lost,” said Doyle.

This may not be the end of a recount. Depending on the results on Thursday, there could be another round. That’ll happen if results fall below one quarter of a percentage point. And the second round of recounting is slightly different. Instead of running ballots through a machine, they’re counted by hand.

“We’re expecting there will be one race that will be a manual [recount],” said Doyle.

He said he’s referring to the agriculture commissioner race between Republican candidate Matt Caldwell and Democratic candidate Nikki Fried. 

“We look at all the over and under votes and see if a candidate can pick up a vote because of voter intent,” said Doyle.

That means for example, a voter accidentally filled in the bubble for both candidates and then crossed out one. That could count as a vote for both candidates when the voter really intended to vote for just one. 

As of Sunday night Lee County Elections Office is about a quarter of the way through counting its 300,000 ballots.