Florida and Arizona had statewide recounts from the Nov. 6, 2018 Midterm Elections because the margin of victory was below .25 percentage points, requiring an automatic recount. The Florida Commission on Ethics website said that the recount was complete, and showed that in the United States Senate race, Governor Rick Scott had defeated incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson. Counties had been given a noon deadline on Nov. 18 to finish their recounts and submit the final vote numbers. Florida is a swing state, meaning it does not consistently elect a single party into office. Elections in swing states also tend to be very close, as both primary parties have a large support base in these contested states.
Machine recounts were completed on Nov. 15, and written ballot recounts began on Nov. 16, with officials hand-examining thousands of ballots. The recount spanned multiple counties and required feeding them through ballot counting machines numerous times to ensure accuracy. Broward County — the second most populated county in Florida — admitted to misplacing over 2,000 ballots for the state agricultural commissioner race. Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes commented at a town meeting, saying, the “ballots are in the building” and “probably mixed in with another stack,” as reported by ABC News.
The race for Florida governor was contested, as Florida’s first black candidate — former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum — lost to Republican Congress Representative Ron DeSantis. Gillum had initially conceded on election night, but later said, “I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every single vote.” At the end of the recount, Gillum conceded after trailing DeSantis by about 34,000 votes, claiming to be satisfied that all votes were counted.
In the Florida Senate race, several lawsuits were brought forward by the Republican party and allegations brought forward by President Donald Trump about Florida’s entire election process. President Trump stated via Twitter that “The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote count is no longer possible — ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!” President Trump also said voters would often create fake disguises and vote twice and Florida has a high rate of voter fraud. None of these claims have been substantiated with evidence.
Arizona’s midterm race for Senate between Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally was closely contested as well, but in the end Kyrsten Sinema was elected. Sinema is Arizona’s first female senator ever and first Democratic senator since 1994. She also is the first openly bisexual US Senator, and she also overcame childhood homelessness. She worked her way up to become a social worker, then later a lawyer, and now a Senator, according to BBC News. McSally posted a video of herself via her Twitter account congratulating Sinema and conceding her campaign. McSally tweeted, “Congrats to @kyrstensinema. I wish her success. I’m grateful to all those who supported me in this journey. I’m inspired by Arizonans’ spirit and our state’s best days are ahead of us.”
In the state of Georgia, the race for governor was also required to do a recount because of the close percentage points when Democrat Stacey Abrams refused to concede to Georgia’s Secretary of State Republican Brian Kemp. The situation in Georgia is unique because Kemp, while running for governor, was also required to run the elections statewide as part of his duties as Secretary of State, according to Vox. Georgia faced a lot of criticism for engaging in “exact match” policies where voter registration “compares registration information to Social Security and state driver records.” This is a type of voter suppression law. Over 53,000 people were denied voter registration because of the “exact match” policy, and about 70 percent of them identified as black according to The Associated Press.
Abrams conceded her bid for Georgia governor on Nov. 16. In a speech given that day, Abrams said “democracy failed in Georgia” and that her opponent “was deliberate and intentional in his actions.” Abrams also said in her speech that the system in Georgia was rotten and rigged and that she is still pursuing a federal lawsuit. Kemp will be charged with discriminatory practices against African Americans, who make up 32 percent of Georgia, by different Civil Rights groups, according to NBC News.
In Gillum’s concession speech, given shortly after the votes were counted, he reminded constituents that, “We plan to do all we can to ensure that every voice is heard in this process,” Gillum said. “It is not over until every legally [cast] vote is counted.”