While some states have closed the chapter to the 2018 midterm elections, other states haven't quite called it quits. This year's midterm elections resulted in some historic change, such as Democrats reclaiming the house and a record-number of women being elected to Congress. However, this Democratic process is still far from over in certain Southeastern states. So, when will Florida's midterm recount be done? The deadline is closer than you think.
On Thursday, Nov. 15, federal judge Mark Walker ruled that Florida voters whose mailed-in and provisional ballots were rejected due to signature issues will have two days to correct the issue so their votes can be included in the recount. However, Nov. 15 will also mark the deadline for the ballot machine recount in Florida, meaning things could move fast from here. The results from the machine recount are due at 3 p.m. ET, and if the new margin is less than 0.25 percent, it will trigger an automatic recount by hand, which will be due by noon on Sunday, Nov. 18, per Vox. However, prominent figures such as Sen. Marco Rubio have complained that Broward County hasn't been open about the number of outstanding votes in the election. The Washington Post obtained Judge Mark Walker's written decision soon after it was announced. Walker wrote,
The precise issue in this case is whether Florida’s law that allows county election officials to reject vote-by-mail and provisional ballots for mismatched signatures — with no standards, an illusory process to cure, and no process to challenge the rejection — passes constitutional muster. The answer is simple. It does not.
In order to correct their signatures, Florida voters must present a valid identification to local election officials to fix their ballots so that their votes can be counted.
This ruling is a huge step in making a final decision in the the tight Senate race between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson. It could also impact the gubernatorial race between Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis and Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, although as of Thursday, Nov. 15, the Hill reported that DeSantis is leading slightly according to unofficial results, by 49.6 percent compared to 49.2 percent.
At 11:50 p.m. ET of Tuesday, Nov. 6, it looked like Gillum had lost the governor's race to Republican opponent DeSantis, with 49.8 percent voting in favor of DeSantis and 48.8 percent for Gillum. Following the close election results, Gillum initially conceded to DeSantis that evening, and provided an inspiring message to his devoted Floridians.
"We have a choice to make tomorrow morning," Gillum said. Are we going to wake up and bask in sorrow and defeat, or are we going to get up and reassert ourselves to the mission at hand?"
In order to trigger a machine recount in Florida, the victory margin must be 0.5 percent or less, while a hand recount must be done if the margin is 0.25 percent or less. So, as fellow Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams of Georgia demanded a recount of her own gubernatorial election, Gillum took to Twitter on Saturday, Nov. 10 to withdraw his concession and demand a recount of Florida votes. Gillum also addressed a crowd that day during a news conference confirming that he would be demanding a recount of the state's over 8 million votes.
"Let me say clearly, I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromising and unapologetic call that we count every single vote," Gillum said. "I say this recognizing my fate in this may or may not change."
Florida's race is one of three major states that demanded recounts in the 2018 midterm elections. So far, Democrat Abrams has yet to concede to her opponent, Republican Brian Kemp, in Georgia's governor race and demanded every vote be recounted along with recognizing missing absentee and provisional ballots. Despite this valiant fight, Tuesday, Nov. 20 will mark the deadline to call Georgia's governor race, and the suspense is killing all of us. Although Georgia and Florida may still be battling it out, Arizona came to a historic decision on Monday, Nov. 12 when it was announced that Democratic Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema had won a seat in the U.S. Senate. With her win official, Sinema will be the first woman ever to represent Arizona, first openly bisexual senator in that chamber, and officially flipped the Arizona seat.
The 2018 midterms may not be over quite yet, but it's safe to say that these elections have been the most suspenseful in recent history. Keep making your voices heard people.