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UPDATE, 11 p.m. Nov. 14: At 10:15 p.m. tonight, Nov. 14, the Volusia County Canvassing Board accepted the results of the machine recount that started Nov. 10 and restarted Nov. 13, after the first machine recount showed 240 fewer votes than those tallied on Election Day.

The machine recount finally decides two local races: Barb Girtman officially edged out a win over incumbent Pat Patterson in the County Council District 1 race, 20,640 votes for Girtman to 20,465 for Patterson.

Girtman’s margin of victory, 0.42 percent, is higher than the quarter-of-a-percent margin that would trigger a manual recount, so that race is concluded.

Still up in the air is the race for state House District 26, featuring Republican Elizabeth Fetterhoff versus incumbent Democrat Patrick Henry. Henry picked up 17 votes in the recount, shrinking Fetterhoff’s lead from 72 to 55. Fetterhoff now has 30,599 votes to Henry’s 30,544.

The race had already been headed to a manual recount, based on the margin on election night. The manual recount will begin at some point tomorrow morning, Nov. 15, at the Volusia County Elections Office. The public is welcome to observe.

In the manual recount, five teams of two representatives, one from each of the major political parties, will review 1,854 undervote and overvote ballots in the District 26 race.


UPDATE, 12:30 a.m. Nov. 13: Volusia County’s machine recount of the votes cast in the Nov. 6, election was clicking along Monday night, when a 240-vote discrepancy emerged between votes cast in the election and those tabulated in the recount. The working theory just after midnight Monday, is that jamming in one of the vote tabulators caused the discrepancy, which emerged during the counting of vote-by-mail and early voting ballots. A representative of the company that makes the vote-counting machinery is on site, and will assist with re-running of the vote by mail and early voting ballots that will begin in the morning Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Original story continues below

It was a very long weekend for the Volusia County Elections Canvassing Board — and for the candidates and voting activists keeping a close eye on the board’s work.

After working past midnight Friday, Nov. 9, to recount three local races, the Canvassing Board on Saturday morning learned the state had ordered a recount of three statewide races: governor, senator and agriculture commissioner.

The local recounts were halted, the vote-counting machines were recalibrated to tally all six races, and the now-much-larger recount started over.

The Canvassing Board stayed at work until midnight or beyond both Saturday and Sunday nights before starting work again at 9 a.m. Monday morning.

By about 11 a.m. today, Nov. 12, all but 63,516 ballots cast in early voting had been recounted by machine.

It was not possible to determine the recounted results in any particular race, since votes for any race could have been cast during early voting.

Officials began machine recounts for two of the five early-voting sites, DeLand and Ormond Beach — one for each high-speed tabulator. By 2:20 p.m., elections officials had finished recounting early-voting ballots cast in DeLand

A few anomalies surfaced during the recount, Lewis said, including one precinct where six ballots had evidently been stored in the voting machine for scanning later and were never scanned. Those votes have now been counted.

Local races getting extra scrutiny include the County Council District 1 race between incumbent Pat Patterson and challenger Barb Girtman.

Unofficial results on election night showed Girtman ahead by just 162 votes among the 41,070 votes cast in the race. After provisional and other unscanned ballots were added, Girtman widened her margin of victory to 177, bringing the difference between the candidates to .043 percent, within the half-percent margin requiring a machine recount.

Also being recounted locally is the race for District 26 representative in the Florida House, between incumbent Democrat Patrick Henry and Republican challenger Elizabeth Fetterhoff.

On election night in this race, the difference between the candidates was just 72 votes, with Fetterhoff ahead. Provisional and unscanned ballots narrowed Fetterhoff’s margin of victory to just 59 of the 61,123 votes cast in the race.

The difference is less than a tenth of a percent, well within the quarter-percent margin requiring a manual recount.

For the manual recount of House District 26, five teams of two people each will be set up in the Elections Office, and will assess the 1,853 undervotes and overvotes in full view of the Canvassing Board and public, Lewis explained.

Each of the five teams will include one Democrat and one Republican, with the individuals chosen for the work by the candidates, she said.

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Barb and her husband, Jeff, were both born in Kokomo, Indiana, a factory town surrounded by cornfields about 50 miles north of Indianapolis. In 1979, they set out on a road trip that would define their lives, and would end with their taking up residence in DeLand. After working at the DeLand Sun News and the Orlando Sentinel 1979-92, Barb helped found The Beacon, and was appointed publisher and CEO in 2013. Since late 2004, Barb has also managed Conrad Realty Co.’s historic property in Downtown DeLand, where The Beacon is an anchor tenant.

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