ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- The state-mandated recount of the Fort Pierce mayoral race began at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday with about 20 members of the media, the campaigns and the public at the elections office.
The recount is required because the vote difference between Vince Gaskin and Linda Hudson a half-percent or less. Results had Gaskin ahead by five votes after Election Day and then ahead by 21 votes after provisional ballots were counted Thursday and Friday. Hudson then took the lead by 61 votes after early votes from Nov. 1-3 were recounted Sunday.
Elections officials are recounting by machine all ballots in the Fort Pierce mayoral race, including all ballots from early voting, Election Day precincts, absentee, provisional and unread. "Over and under" votes would be recounted manually only if the results of the machine recount yielded a vote difference of a quarter-percent or less. The Canvassing Board would review each one to determine the intent of voters.
Walker planned to test the machines, which have been set to read only the Fort Pierce mayoral race, before beginning the recount. The machines would reject any ballots that don't include the race, as well as "over and under" votes.
About five military and overseas ballots won't be counted because the elections office has a deadline of Friday for them, Walker said. Any military and overseas ballots received up until Election Day already have been included in results.