The Latest on the Florida recount (all times local):

7:55 a.m.

A Florida judge is rejecting a challenge to the rules that will be used in a hand recount in the state’s contentious U.S. Senate race.

Palm Beach County Supervisor Of Elections Susan Bucher speaks to members of the media at the Supervisor of Elections office after the deadline for a recount was reached, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Palm Beach County Supervisor Of Elections Susan Bucher speaks to members of the media at the Supervisor of Elections office after the deadline for a recount was reached, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker late Thursday ruled against Sen. Bill Nelson and Democrats in another one of the lawsuits surrounding the recount.

During the hand recount, election officials look at just the ballots that weren’t recorded by voting machines.

Employees bring out boxes of ballots before resuming a recount at the Palm Beach County Supervisor Of Elections office, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Employees bring out boxes of ballots before resuming a recount at the Palm Beach County Supervisor Of Elections office, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Under state law, voters must use only approved markings or their ballot is disqualified. And they can’t simply cross out a mistaken vote but must explain in writing why they did so. The lawsuit contends that has a discriminatory effect on non-native English speakers and illiterate voters.

But Walker found the rules were reasonable and constitutional.

Palm Beach County Supervisor Of Elections Susan Bucher, rear, checks her watch as she talks to an employee at the Supervisor of Elections office during a recount, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Palm Beach County Supervisor Of Elections Susan Bucher, rear, checks her watch as she talks to an employee at the Supervisor of Elections office during a recount, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Florida counties must finish the hand recount by Sunday.

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A Republican party observer, right, watches as an employee at the Palm Beach County Supervisor Of Elections office goes through a stack of damaged ballots, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in West Palm Beach, Fla.  A federal judge slammed Florida on Thursday for repeatedly failing to anticipate election problems, and said the state law on recounts appears to violate the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that decided the presidency in 2000.  (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
A Republican party observer, right, watches as an employee at the Palm Beach County Supervisor Of Elections office goes through a stack of damaged ballots, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in West Palm Beach, Fla. A federal judge slammed Florida on Thursday for repeatedly failing to anticipate election problems, and said the state law on recounts appears to violate the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that decided the presidency in 2000. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

12:30 a.m.

Florida’s bitter U.S. Senate contest is headed to a legally required hand recount after an initial review by ballot-counting machines showed Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson separated by less than 13,000 votes.

Despite an ongoing recount in Florida for the extremely tight Senate race between Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Bill Nelson, Scott appeared at a photo opp Wednesday on Capitol Hill for newly-elected Republican Senators. (Nov. 14)
Despite an ongoing recount in Florida for the extremely tight Senate race between Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Bill Nelson, Scott appeared at a photo opp Wednesday on Capitol Hill for newly-elected Republican Senators. (Nov. 14)

But the contest for Florida governor between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum appeared to be over Thursday, with a machine recount showing DeSantis with a large enough advantage over Gillum to avoid a hand recount in that race. Gillum said in a statement, however, that “it is not over until every legally casted vote is counted.”

The recount has been fraught with problems. One large Democratic stronghold in South Florida was unable to finish its machine recount by the Thursday deadline due to machines breaking down. A federal judge rejected a request to extend the recount deadline.

Source: The Associated Press