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The 2016 midterm recount is finally over in Miami-Dade.
It took elections volunteers eight hours to sort through more than 31,000 ballots — singled out because they had undervotes or overvotes — in the commissioner of agriculture race. In the end, late Friday night, Nicole Fried, a Democrat, maintained her lead against Matt Caldwell, a Republican, by gaining 210 new votes.
Before the recount, Fried led Caldwell by 170,560 votes in Miami-Dade. The recount extended her lead by 56 votes. Statewide, Fried was leading by a slimmer margin pre-recount: just 5,307 votes.
The manual recount process was speedy and seamless. The review teams were able to sort through all 31,000+ ballots so quickly because the vast majority of them were “undervotes” in which the voter left the agriculture commissioner spot on the ballot totally blank.
In the end the canvassing board debated over 556 ballots. Members determined that 138 were blank and 62 had markings for both candidates. Caldwell gained 146, and Fried gained 210. There were no write-in ballots.
“It wasn’t as bad as we thought,” Haroot Samra, a Republican lawyer, said to the canvassing board as they wrapped up.
The board, which had already completed its recount of the U.S. Senate race, will reconvene either Saturday evening or Sunday morning to review any affidavits submitted for ballots with mismatched signatures. Then the election will be officially certified and reported to the state. All 67 counties must report their recount results to the Florida secretary of state by noon Sunday.