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Broward County Finally Begins Ballot Recount After Three-Day Delay

Sam Turken
Broward County started to count early votes on Tuesday.

Facing a tight deadline to submit votes to the state, Broward County started recounting ballots Tuesday morning, days after the Secretary of State ordered a state-wide recount for three races.

Broward elections workers have spent the past two days separating the first pages of ballots, and still have to sort through more.

But Broward County Supervisor of Elections Attorney Lisa Crawford said the office temporarily stopped the separation process and began running early-vote ballots through tabulation machines.

“They would lose hours if they continue to just sort,” Crawford said. “It would be better to at least start the early vote recounting now and then they will pick up some of the other sorting that still needs to be done.”

The recount deadline for Broward's more than 700,000 ballots is Thursday at 3 p.m. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, the office said it finished counting nearly 300,000 early votes. It will continue sorting vote-by mail ballots through the evening. 

Secretary of State Ken Detzner ordered a statewide recount on Saturday for several races including those for Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner. Because all three races appear on the first page of ballots, counties had to isolate that page before running them through tabulation machines.

Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties began separating ballots days before the recount became official. Both counties then started counting ballots soon after Detzner’s order.

Broward, however, did not begin sorting its ballots until Sunday, which has delayed the recount process.

One possible reason for the lag is that Broward’s election office staff has not worked as many hours as Miami-Dade’s. Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes dismissed her workers at 2:30 a.m. after Election Night and then gave them another break at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Miami-Dade’s elections office has kept staffers working 24 hours a day since Election Day.

Broward elections supervisor Brenda Snipes says she will meet Thursday’s deadline. The office is using 12 high-speed counting machines to move through ballots.

If the county doesn’t meet the deadline, the original election results reported on Saturday will be what is counted.

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