The problematic design of Broward County’s ballots could have given prominence to the Florida gubernatorial race in which Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum could become the state’s first Black governor.
Controversy over the design brewed as a machine recount of statewide ballots was ordered on Saturday, which prompted Gillum to withdraw his earlier concession of defeat to GOP rival Ron DeSantis on election night.
“Let me say clearly, I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromising and unapologetic call that we count every single vote. I say this recognizing my fate in this may or may not change,” he said at a news conference.
DeSantis led Gillum by fewer than 34,000 votes or a margin of .409 percent, which triggered an automatic machine recount under Florida law because the difference was less than half a percentage point, USA Today reported.
Broward County, a Democratic stronghold in South Florida, is at the epicenter of the tightly contested governor race, as well as the U.S. Senate competition between Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott.
One puzzling issue surrounds the fact that about 26,000 more voters chose a gubernatorial candidate but not a Senate candidate. The ballot design could explain what happened, NBC News reported.
The list of Senate candidates appeared buried at the bottom left column of the ballot, under the list of instructions. Candidates for governor, however, were placed at the top of the center column in a prominent position.
There could be tens of thousands of uncounted votes in Broward County, where Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes is under scrutiny by Republicans. Broward was also at the center of Florida’s botched 2000 presidential election.
Meanwhile, DeSantis has declared himself the winner, even though the race is too close to call. His campaign released a video on Saturday restating its view that DeSantis, who had the full support of President Donald Trump, won the race.
Gillum dismissed his opponent’s claim to victory given the uncounted votes.
“What I do know is that every single Floridian who took time to go out to cast their vote, to participate in this process deserve the comfort of knowing that in a democratic society and in this process, every vote will be counted,” Gillum said.