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Santa Rosa School Board Race Undecided

Santa Rosa County School District

There’s one more race to be decided in Santa Rosa County, for a seat on the school board.

Florida’s 67 canvassing boards began work Wednesday to certify the vote totals. A recount is possible for Santa Rosa School District-4, where Felicia Northcutt and Charles Elliott are 46 votes apart as of Thursday afternoon, according to the unofficial count. That could possibly trigger a recount, but not until the votes are reviewed on Friday.

“Once we submit those official results and have those numbers, the board will review that to see if it meets the requirements for a automatic recount,” said Santa Rosa County Elections chief Tappie Villane. “For a machine recount, that would be a half percent or less.”

If the results of the machine recount show a quarter of a percent margin or less, a manual recount is triggered.

“Many people will ask me, ‘In a manual recount, does that mean you recount every single ballot? It does not,’” said Villane. “We will actually only review the overvotes, where someone actually voted for both of the candidates – or undervotes where they just simply left the race blank.”

There’s also the feeling – among Villane and Florida’s 66 other elections supervisors – that Tuesday’s primary was a good dress rehearsal for the general election 10 weeks from now.

Credit Santa Rosa Co. Supervisor of Elections
Tappie Villane, Santa Rosa County Supervisor of Elections

“Even though I know that the turnout will be a lot larger in November, it get not only myself and my staff, but also our poll workers in the groove of the questions that we’ll here during election time, and just insuring that everybody’s following the procedures we have in place.”

But in the run up to November 3, there’s some paperwork to be done to wrap up the primary – then the attention turns to the fall.

“Scheduling our poll workers for training prior to each and every election; preparing the ballot for November,” said Villane. “We don’t know what that ballot’s going to look like yet; we must have our primary first and then – because there will be some races that will obviously move on to November – then we can start preparing for the November ballot.”

Florida’s primary turnout on Tuesday was the highest in 18 years, according to the state Division of Elections Secretary of State Laurel Lee says that’s despite the light-to-medium numbers that are expected for a primary.

“From what we can tell at this point, the combined voter turnout – between early voting, vote-by-mail and election day voting – is higher than average for a primary election,” said Lee.

All in all, says the Secretary of State, challenges were few and far between, adding Primary Day 2020 was “orderly and successful.”

“We are in unprecedented times; and what we have seen [Tuesday] has been an incredible exercise of cooperation between Florida’s voters, the poll workers, and the supervisors of elections to ensure that Florida’s elections continue to stay safely and securely across our state.”

The deadline for registering to vote in the November 3 general election is October 5.