Yesterday we received the news that almost nobody except Democrats wanted to hear. Florida’s Secretary of State ordered recounts in both the Senate and gubernatorial races, with the former being a machine recount and the latter being a hand count of ballots unable to be read by the voting machines. Given the state’s rather lengthy recent history of controversies (if not outright illegal activity) in vote counting, this doesn’t come as great news for the two current leaders, both of whom are Republicans. (NY Post)

The Florida secretary of state is ordering recounts in the U.S. Senate and governor races, an unprecedented review of two major races in the state that took five weeks to decide the 2000 presidential election.

Secretary Ken Detzner issued the order on Saturday after the unofficial results in both races fell within the margin that by law triggers a recount.

The unofficial results show that Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis led Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by less than 0.5 percentage points, which will require a machine recount of ballots.

This leaves us with the usual, sarcastic question so common among bloggers. What could possibly go wrong? Well, in this case… pretty much everything.

It was only yesterday that I was taking a walk down memory lane with some of the highlights and lowlights of Florida’s history of counting votes. Many of the problems that have been encountered seem to center on Broward and Miami-Dade counties. It’s the former which regularly invokes the name of Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes. Her history of “irregularities” in counting votes is well known by now, but apparently, her department is already causing a stir this year. As Ed described yesterday, she’s already had a “hilarious” instance of mixing rejected ballots with valid ballots before submitting them.

The Attorney General has given the state until Thursday afternoon to finish the machine recounts, but what are the odds of that happening cleanly and on schedule? It seems as if it’s always Broward and Miami-Dade that are the slowest to finish and the source of the most irregularities. In fact, that’s where the late votes for both Andrew Gillum and Bill Nelson largely came from, pushing us into recount territory in the first place. With Ms. Snipes’ steady hand on the tiller, this thing could go anywhere.

As of this writing, Republican Rick Scott was leading in the Senate race by nearly 13,000 votes. Are there actually that many ballots out there that couldn’t be counted by the machines? And if so, are they going to tilt that heavily in Bill Nelson’s favor? De Santis is leading Gillum by more than 33,000. If both of those races are “hilariously” reversed in this recount, you can bet that people will notice that the limits of coincidence will have been strained to the breaking point. Someone needs to make sure that people are keeping a very close eye on what’s going on in Broward and Miami-Dade counties this week.