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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.

Manual Election Recounts Begin

Now that the automatic election recount is done, it's time to do it by hand.

A manual recount of ballots cast in the U.S. Senate race between Gov. Rick Scott and incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson began at 9 a.m. Friday, as well as for the state Agriculture Commission race, where Democrat Nikki Fried leads Republican Matt Caldwell.

In Hillsborough County, a recount will also be held at the Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections building in Brandon for the tightly contested State Senate District 18 race, where Democrat Janet Cruz holds a slight lead over incumbent Republican Dana Young.

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner ordered manual recounts in those races because the margin between the top two candidates in each is less than .25 percent.

Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media
WUSF Public Media
Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer was a whirl of motion Friday

“If the results are then .25 or less, then it moves to a manual recount, and teams will then go through all of these overvotes and undervotes or blank ballots to make sure there wasn’t any marks on them that the machine missed,” Craig Latimer, Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, told WUSF last week.

During the manual recount, a canvassing board appoints people from the Supervisor of Elections Office to staff up to 20 counting tables, where they will review all ballots with undervotes or overvotes to determine voter intent. Political party and candidate designees will have the opportunity to directly observe and object to decisions made at these tables. The Canvassing Board will make final determinations on all ballots in which the voter intent is disputed or unclear.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.