A hand recount in the Democratic primary for Senate District 27 between Jeff Clemens and Mack Bernard did not change the original outcome of the election — Clemens won — although it did narrow the margin of victory to just 17 votes.
“I’m a little shocked,” said Clemens (as told by Kathleen Haughney), who made a thumbs up sign after given the news. “ It was such a brutal week. You go through such a range of emotions.”
The recount was triggered because the race was decided by less than one-half of 1 percent of the votes cast.
Haughney of the Sun-Sentinel described the process that took place today:
Twenty-four ballot counters sat at 12 tables sifting through 24,245 ballots, double-checking by hand a machine count from Friday. Behind the workers, representatives from each candidate sat peering over their shoulders.
Ballots that remained unclear were ferried from the warehouse floor to a corner office where a three-member committee made a final call about the voters’ intentions. As each ballot hit their desk, the candidates’ lawyers craned their necks and spoke up when they disagreed with a decision. Out of scores of ballots, they objected only to a few.
“I can’t help but be proud of the way the Supervisor of Elections [Susan Bucher] has been handling this,” said Ron Meyer, the attorney representing Clemens.
“Congratulations to Rep. Jeff Clemens on his victory,” said Rod Smith, chairman of the Florida Democratic Party. “Jeff has been a strong advocate for children and families in Tallahassee. Every vote counts and this race underscores just how important it is for Floridians to get out and cast a ballot this November.”