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Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland holds up a provisional ballot for a closer look Wednesday, a day after two local races were too close to name a winner. Tuesday's primary results must be finalized before the state can declare a recount for the St...
Jax Daily Record Thursday, Aug. 28, 201412:00 PM EST

Holland says recounts likely finished by end of week

by: David Chapman

Paul Renner did some things Wednesday he hadn’t done in some time.

He slept in. Went to lunch with his wife. Bought more food for the dog.

Never mind his political career was still undecided after Tuesday, down three votes to opponent Jay Fant to become the next representative for state House District 15.

After the 11,891 votes were cast, the margin was well within the range of a recount. That won’t happen until today at the earliest, Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland said Wednesday. More likely, though, it will be Friday.

Holland, meanwhile, was with the canvassing board Wednesday in North Jacksonville, sorting ballots from early and absentee votes. Those that will need to be recounted were taken out. So, too, were those considered as possible “under votes” – mismarked ballots where a hand review could help determine voter intent.

Before the state can declare a recount, though, provisional ballots for all Duval County races had to be completed. After, Tuesday’s unofficial results can be certified and a recount declared.

A public notice has been filed for a recount on the Fant-Renner race in addition to the Duval County School Board District 2 race. It also qualified for further review when the margin between runoff candidates equaled that of the state race. Scott Shine made the runoff. His opponent will either be Theresa Graham or Sam Hall, who also are separated by a 3-vote margin.

State law requires a machine recount when the margin of victory is within 0.5 percent. A hand recount is done when its 0.25 percent. After votes were counted Tuesday, Fant had a 0.02 percent advantage. Hall holds a 0.03 percent lead over Graham.

Fant didn’t return calls Wednesday.

Holland said the typical recount costs $80,000-$120,000. With two being done concurrently, Holland said the hope is to have shared costs.

During his nine years as supervisor, Holland has only had to oversee one recount: the 2012 race featuring Brian Davis for 4th Judicial Circuit Judge Group 1. Davis was later confirmed the winner of that race.

Renner and his camp are keeping tabs on the process. He said he’s at peace with whichever way the results fall. If it was 20 or so votes, he said it likely would have been “going through the motions.” But, three?

“It’s just too close,” he said.

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