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Read our current and previous coverage of the 2018 election season as you prepare to cast your ballot. You'll find information on important races, explanations of constitutional amendments and details of local referendums.

Hillsborough County Throws Out Recount Results

Steve Newborn
WUSF Public Media
Hillsborough County elections officials conduct a machine recount Nov. 11. However, they decided against submitting those results due to figures showing 846 fewer votes than the first tally.

While all Tampa Bay area counties wrapped up the state-ordered machine recount by Thursday afternoon's deadline, Hillsborough County decided against submitting its revised totals.

Once the more than 527,000 ballots in Hillsborough had been recounted, the total was 846 lower than the first unofficial results.

That's a difference of less than 0.16%. In addition, the difference in the margins between the candidates were virtually unchanged.

However, Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer said they're not willing to accept that votes go unreported, so the canvassing board decided that the first unofficial results - the ones submitted to the state last week - would be submitted this time as well.

"The fact that the percentages between the candidates remains the same gives us full confidence in our voting process and systems. Even though we achieved 99.84% success in our recount effort, we are not willing to accept that votes go unreported," said Latimer. "For that reason, the Canvassing Board has decided that the first unofficial results will stand as our second unofficial."

The decision is in line with state elections rules.

"Conducting a full recount in a constricted time period is extremely challenging. We are forced to recreate in four days what takes place over a course of weeks," said Latimer.

He added that the recount was complicated by two power outages and the loss of one of their machines Thursday.

"At this time, we haven't had time to analyze fully how those power outages may have impacted the count, nor to determine where human error may have been involved," said Latimer.

Hillsborough will now join the rest of the state in a manual recount in the U.S. Senate and Florida Agriculture Commissioner races, as well as hold a manual recount in the state Senate race between Janet Cruz and Dana Young.

The recounts will start at 9 a.m. Friday and be turned into the state by 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 20.

Changes in other Tampa Bay area counties registered by the machine recount were much smaller. Pinellas added 16 ballots, while Manatee added 23. Pasco's total dropped by 2 votes, Sarasota's fell by 82.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.