National News

In Some Races, Results May Still Be Weeks Away

Posted November 13, 2018 11:34 p.m. EST

A week after Election Day, midterm ballots are still being counted, lawsuits are multiplying, a few recount efforts have begun and at least one race is headed for a runoff. In major races around the country that are too close to call, here’s what to expect, including when we may know the winners.


The Sunshine State is in the middle of a recount for its Senate and governor’s races after county tallies resulted in razor-thin margins. (A machine recount is triggered if the difference between two candidates is half a percentage point or less). Before the recount in the Senate race, Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, led Bill Nelson, the Democratic incumbent, by 0.15 percentage points. In the governor’s race, Ron DeSantis, the Republican, was ahead of Democrat Andrew Gillum by 0.41 percentage points.

Thursday, 3 p.m.

Machine recount totals are due. On Tuesday, lawyers for Nelson filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to extend the deadline.

In a machine recount, all ballots are retabulated, or refed, through a county’s precinct tabulators. Ballots with “undervotes” and “overvotes” — those for which scanning machines picked up either no votes or too many votes — are set aside in case they are needed for a manual recount.

Any race that remains within a margin of 0.25 percentage points or less after the machine recount will trigger a manual recount.


Overseas ballots must be received by Friday but postmarked or signed and dated no later than Nov. 6. As of Monday, there were about 20,000 overseas ballots outstanding, according to Daniel Smith, chair of the University of Florida’s political science department.


This is the current deadline for manual recounts, if they are triggered. “Undervotes” and “overvotes” that were set aside from the machine recount would be examined by hand.

Nov. 20

Florida’s Elections Canvassing Commission certifies final results. The commission is made up of Scott, as governor, and two members of his Cabinet. On Monday, the League of Women Voters and Common Cause of Florida, a nonpartisan watchdog group, sued Scott to bar him from continuing to oversee the election given his role as a candidate in the Senate race.


After a campaign marred by accusations of voter suppression, a federal judge late Monday ordered election officials to review provisional ballots that had not been counted in Georgia’s governor’s race. She also delayed final certification of the results until at least 5 p.m. Friday.

Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate, was within 21,000 votes of forcing a runoff election against Brian Kemp, the Republican, who was leading with just over 50 percent of the vote. State law requires a runoff if neither candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, and a recount if one candidate gets more than 50 percent but by a margin of 1 percentage point or less over the closest opponent.

A second court ruling, issued Tuesday, orders populous Gwinnett County to accept absentee ballots with missing or incorrect birth years. That decision will also affect the House race between the incumbent, Rep. Rob Woodall, a Republican, and Carolyn Bourdeaux, the Democratic challenger, in Georgia’s 7th District, which remains too close to call.

Tuesday, 5 p.m.

The original deadline for counties to certify and submit results to the secretary of state was Tuesday. Monday’s court order means that elections officials must review certain provisional ballots again to determine whether a person was, in fact, eligible to vote. According to Georgia officials, 21,000 provisional ballots were cast statewide.

Friday, 5 p.m.

The earliest the state can certify results, according to Monday’s court ruling, is Friday. The final deadline under state law is Nov. 20.

If neither a runoff nor a recount is triggered, Abrams would still have two options for contesting the election for governor. According to Bryan Sells, a Georgia lawyer who specializes in voting rights and election law, Abrams could petition the secretary of state for a recount or challenge the results of the election in state court.

Dec. 4

This is the date for a runoff in the governor’s race if neither candidate receives 50 percent of the vote.

Jan. 8

This is the date for a runoff in the 7th District if neither candidate receives 50 percent of the vote.


Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republican, and Mike Espy, a Democrat, are locked in a runoff for a federal Senate seat after no candidate in their four-person race received more than 50 percent of the vote.

Nov. 27

This is the date for the runoff election between Hyde-Smith and Espy.


Two House races remain too close to call, according to the Associated Press. On Tuesday evening, the Democratic candidate took the lead over the Republican incumbent in the 45th District. The Republican candidate in the 39th District saw her lead shrink.

Dec. 7

The state has until Dec. 7 to count the votes.


Maine is the first state to use ranked-choice voting for congressional seats, a system in which voters rank all candidates on a ballot instead of choosing just one. In the state’s 2nd District, an algorithm is still sorting out the winner.

The Republican incumbent, Rep. Bruce Poliquin, was ahead of the challenger, Jared Golden, a Democratic state lawmaker, but had not received enough votes to win outright before the ranked ballots were reapportioned. Poliquin on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in an effort to stop the count and declare the ranked-choice system unconstitutional.

Nov. 26

The secretary of state’s office has 20 days from Election Day to certify the results. The governor has an additional 10 days to approve them.


Ballots are still being counted in New Jersey’s 3rd District, where Andy Kim, a Democrat and former Obama administration official, holds a slim lead over Rep. Tom MacArthur, the Republican incumbent.

Dec. 6

New Jersey has until Dec. 6 to certify results.


In New York’s 22nd District, Anthony Brindisi, a Democratic state assemblyman, leads the Republican incumbent, Claudia Tenney, by just over 1,000 votes.

And in the 27th District, Chris Collins, the Republican incumbent charged with insider trading, is ahead of Democratic candidate Nate McMurray by about 1 percentage point.

Dec. 14

The state board of canvassers meets to certify the general election results.


As of Saturday, just 1,150 votes separated Rep. Will Hurd, the Republican incumbent, from Gina Ortiz Jones, the Democratic candidate, in Texas’ 23rd District.

According to Texas law, a candidate may request a recount if she trails by less than 10 percent of the winner’s vote total.

Nov. 20

The local canvass must finish within 14 days of the election. The governor then has another two weeks to certify the results. Once the governor signs off on the results, the last chance for a candidate to request a recount is two days later.


In Utah’s 4th District, Rep. Mia Love, the Republican incumbent, closely trails Democrat Ben McAdams, the mayor of Salt Lake County, with the gap shrinking each day as thousands of mail ballots are counted. Candidates may request a recount if the difference between in the final count is 0.25 percentage points or less.

Nov. 26

This is the deadline for the state to release final certified vote totals.