Zero Votes

With votes still coming in, the Division of Elections website still reads zero write-in votes at 3 p.m. on Friday in the race for U.S. Senate involving Sen. Bill Nelson, Gov. Rick Scott and others.

In an election with more than 8.2 million votes, it’s hard to believe that one vote really does make a difference.

But when the winner of a national position is a mere 0.2 percent ahead of an incumbent — a vote does matter.

In less than 24 hours, both races to be Florida’s next Governor and U.S. Senator have each gained more than 9,400 votes statewide, as of Friday afternoon. Charlotte County’s votes have remained the same in this period, whereas Sarasota has gained 210 votes from provisional ballets and overseas ballots.

The Sun reviewed each of Florida’s 67 counties’ election results on their respective Supervisor of Elections websites showing a 0.2 percent, or 15,383 vote, difference between top candidates for the Senate race, and a 0.44 percent, or 35,591 votes, difference for the gubernatorial election as of Friday at 3 p.m.

Scott and DeSantis were in the lead.

Statewide, between Thursday afternoon and 3 p.m. Friday, the races have gained 9,431 and 9,914 votes for the Senate and Gubernatorial races, respectively.

The State’s Division of Elections website updates this information as well, and even between the couple hours of 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Friday, there were 1,138 votes added in the Senate race. The website does not, however, count write-in ballots and lists zero votes for any write-in candidate.

“Write-in votes are entered by the counties when they submit their (first) set of Unofficial Returns which is due Saturday by noon,” said the Florida Division of Elections’ communications director Sarah Revell.

However, each county’s supervisor of elections tallied write-in votes, or in Charlotte’s case, the “total ovals filled in by voters for write-ins,” according to Charlotte County Supervisor of Elections Paul Stamoulis.

According to the Sun’s data, there were 23,721 write-in ballots for the U.S. Senate race statewide. Sarasota and Charlotte counties made up 1,173 of these.

“This is pending the Canvassing Board’s review of them to determine which are ‘true’ write-ins, i.e. those that have been cast for qualified write-in candidates, and those that were not,” he said.

The Elections Canvassing Commission will meet Tuesday, Nov. 20, to certify the official results of all offices and amendments.

According to Supervisor of Elections websites and the Florida Division of Election, Alachua, Lake, Osceola, Putnam, Santa Rosa and Walton counties have not completed their provisional ballots; Gadsen and Hernando counties have partially reported their mail-in ballots; Palm Beach County has not completed its provisional and mail-in ballots; and Broward county has not completed their mail-in, early voting and provisional ballots.

The Secretary of State will order a machine recount if the first set of unofficial returns indicates within a margin of 0.5 percent or less of the total votes cast that “a candidate for office was eliminated or defeated, a judicial candidate for retention was retained or not retained, or an issue was approved or rejected,” the Florida Division of Elections website states.

If ordered, a second round of unofficial results will be due no later than Nov. 15 at 3 p.m.

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Write-In Votes

County U.S. Senator Governor Chief Financial Officer State Attorney (20th Circuit)
Charlotte— Source: County supervisor of elections offices 415 84 84 2,532
Sarasota 758 179 161 N/A
Collier 286 84 59 3,515
Lee 1,105 194 223 9,521
Hendry 32 9 11 313
Glades 18 8 4 93
Total 2,614 558 542 15,974

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