The Florida Department of State's timeline for reporting, recounting and certifying votes in the 2018 general election:
Nov. 6: General Election Day
In each respective Florida county's time zone, preliminary election night returns are due no later than 7:30 p.m. – a half hour after polls close – and in 45-minute increments following until all results are completely reported.
Provisional and overseas vote-by-mail ballots do not fall under that category.
Nov. 8: Provisional Ballot Deadline
The deadline for provisional ballots to count – requiring evidence of eligibility – is 5 p.m. on Nov. 8.
Nov. 10: Deadline for First Unofficial Returns
County canvassing boards are required to turn in first unofficial returns no later than noon on Nov. 10. The decision on whether a machine recount is required is determined by the Florida Secretary of State and the Divison of Elections.
A machine recount is legally required under Florida law for federal, state or multicounty races or issues if the margin between candidates/issues is below 0.5 percent.
The results of the machine recount are declared as the second set of unofficial returns.
Nov. 15: Deadline for Machine Recount Results
The results of the machine recount, determined to be the second set of unofficial returns, are due no later than 3 p.m. on Nov. 15.
At that point, the Florida Secretary of State and the Divison of Elections will determine whether the returns of those results meet the statutory threshold for a manual recount.
A manual recount is legally required under Florida law for federal, state or multicounty races or issues if the margin between candidates/issues is below 0.25 percent.
Nov. 16: Overseas Ballots Deadline
In compliance with the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, the deadline in Florida for overseas ballots from applicable military and civilian is Nov. 16.
The ballots must be postmarked or signed and dated on or before the Nov. 6 Election Day.
Nov. 18: Official Returns Deadline
County canvassing boards have a noon deadline on Nov. 18 to produce official returns.
Nov. 20: Official Returns Certified
The Elections Canvassing Commission, which is made up of the Florida governor and two members of the Florida Cabinet selected by the governor, meet in Tallahassee at 9 a.m. on Nov. 20 to certify the official returns from federal, state and multi-county offices