US Senate Race in Florida Goes to Hand Recount

A worker sets up tables for hand counting Palm Beach County election ballots in West Palm Beach, Florida, Nov. 15, 2018. (Photo Credit: VOA News)

(VOA News) – Florida’s U.S. Senate race is going to an automatic hand recount as a federal judge angrily told election officials they are making the state a global “laughingstock.”

Florida state law requires a hand recount if a machine count finds the margin of victory is less than 0.25 percent.

As of late Thursday, Democratic incumbent Senator Bill Nelson trailed his Republican challenger, Governor Rick Scott, by 0.15 percent.

Election officials missed a Thursday deadline for recounting the ballots for the Senate, saying counting machines in Palm Beach kept breaking down.

Officials in Tampa Bay declined to turn in their recount result because it came up more than 800 votes short of the original Election Day tally.

Federal Judge Mark Walker refused to extend the deadline and berated election officials for not anticipating problems.

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