Elections

Manatee County certified elections results Sunday morning with a couple of hours to spare

Watch: the manual recount in Manatee County

Volunteers sorted thousands of ballots during a manual recount at the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office on Friday afternoon.
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Volunteers sorted thousands of ballots during a manual recount at the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office on Friday afternoon.

Manatee County officially certified it’s elections results Sunday morning with a couple hours to spare ahead of the state’s noon deadline.

Staff at Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office with the help of about 50 volunteers completed the state-ordered manual recount in the U.S. Senate race between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Bill Nelson and in the Florida agriculture commissioner race between Republican Matt Caldwell and Democrat Nicole “Nikki” Fried early Friday evening.

Before certifying the election, the Manatee County Canvassing Board met Sunday morning to review about 80 ballots received before the court-ordered 5 p.m. Saturday extension for overseas or military ballots and for those needing verification.

As a result of the deadline extension, about 80 ballots had to be reviews on Sunday morning, according to Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett.

“We looked at them, the canvassing board accepted them and we wrapped the election and were out there by 10:30 a.m.,” Bennett said later on Sunday.

The recount was a new and welcome experience for Bennett and he praised his staff, volunteers and representatives from both parties.

“Everybody was courteous,” Bennett said. “It was a wonderful experience.”

Manatee County had one of the highest turnouts in the state, he boasted, with more than 67 percent of registered voters casting a ballot.

“The courts didn’t make it any easier,” Bennett said however. “Any time you change the rules in the middle of the game, doesn’t make it any easier.”

You can follow Jessica De Leon on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.
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