The final tally in Volusia County’s mandated recount didn’t fundamentally change the results, so why did it matter? Why did the Elections Office spend 11 days past the election, working day and night, to confirm what we already suspected?
Of the myriad reasons — not the least of which is that having a recount is the law — perhaps the most important is ensuring your vote counts.
In theory, a machine recount should confirm the results of the election. Once a machine recount is completed, a manual recount is done in races where there is less than a quarter-of-a-percent difference between votes received by the two candidates.
Despite several resets of the machine recount, Volusia County finished the night before the statewide deadline of 3 p.m. Nov. 15, which is better than most college students would do.
In some cases, when damaged ballots were duplicated, the machine recount switched a handful of overvotes or undervotes into votes for the intended party.
This doesn’t seem like a big deal — unless it was your ballot.
The reasons for damaged ballots include over-handling. Wear and tear was more common on vote-by-mail ballots, which live an entire life away from a polling location, being folded and refolded, filled out over breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Ultimately, the differences either balanced out, or weren’t enough to change the winners and losers.
A good example is the race for U.S. senator. The machine and manual recount in Volusia County added 43 votes for Rick Scott, and 44 votes for Bill Nelson.
Although Nelson gained only one vote, 87 additional voters had their votes counted in one of the most consequential races of the midterm.