********CURRENT VOTE MARGINS as of 8:30pm Thursday********
U.S. Senate – Rick Scott leads Bill Nelson by
15,092 15,079 votes (13 more votes for Nelson “found” in the past 30 minutes)
FL Governor – Ron DeSantis leads Andrew Gillum by
36,223 36,219 votes (4 more votes for Gillum “found” in past 30 minutes)
UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that at approximately 2pm Eastern, the Broward County Supervisor of Elections posted another 11,300 votes (which broke 70-30 in favor of Democrats). This new tranche of ballots have just triggered a mandatory machine recount in the governor’s race and a hand recount in the U.S. Senate race.
UPDATE #2: After another update sometime after 5pm, Nelson has gained another 2,000 votes, cutting Scott’s statewide lead to just 15,092 votes. It is unclear where these last 2,000 votes came from.
UPDATE #3: Scott has ordered FDLE to investigate Broward County’s handling of ballots. Attorneys for Rick Scott have filed a lawsuit in the 17th Judicial Circuit against Broward SOE Brenda Snipes. The lawsuit demands access to public records in an effort to know how many ballots have been cast, how many have been counted and how many ballots remain to be counted. Snipes maintains that she does not have this information.
Republicans Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis may be in trouble. Despite clear margins of victory for both men on election night, Democrat election supervisors in Broward and Palm Beach counties say they aren’t done tallying up votes. Two days after the polls closed on Tuesday night, Democrat candidates Bill Nelson and Andrew Gillum benefited from nearly 46,000 Democrat votes that have been “found” in those counties and added to the statewide election outcome, throwing Florida into a partisan uproar over mandatory hand and machine recounts and the possibility that the integrity of the election process has been compromised.
Nelson already has his lawyer promising that Nelson is going to prevail, and a close advisor to Gillum posted on social media that he is aware of at least 20,000 “more” ballots that he alleges have yet to be counted:
— Kevin Cate (@KevinCate) November 8, 2018
But it is unclear how the Gillum camp could possibly know the number of outstanding ballots – if any – especially since Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes claims she has no idea how many ballots remain to be counted:
“Not sure. I’m really not sure. But we are working on those,” Snipes told CBS4 News in Miami.
Republicans have expressed frustration with Snipes, who has a long history of election “snafus.” Just days before the 2016 presidential election, Republican poll watchers discovered that Snipes and her team were illegally opening vote by mail ballots – which traditionally come from Republican voters – behind closed doors and away from the supervision of the canvassing board, whose job it is to oversee and certify the election outcome.