Broward Circuit Judge Michael Usan.

Three days after the polls closed, Broward Circuit Judge Michael Usan is holding onto a shrinking lead in his re-election bid against challenger Richard Brian Kaplan.

As of Friday morning, the Broward County elections office posted a 331-vote lead for Usan, down from 337 at one point Thursday.

Usan and Kaplan have been locked in a neck-and-neck race since election workers went home on election night. The tally stands at 114,021 votes for Usan to Kaplan’s 113,690.


Challenger Richard Brian Kaplan. Courtesy photo.

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Kaplan was ahead Tuesday night by 714 votes, but Usan pulled into the lead Wednesday afternoon.

The vote count rose each day as the elections office counted absentee ballots that arrived by mail Tuesday or were submitted in person before polls closed.

Usan was first appointed to the bench by former Gov. Charlie Crist in January 2010 and was re-elected after running unopposed in 2012.

Kaplan has served as the civil litigation director at the state Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel-District for the past decade.

He told the Daily Business Review on Thursday that in light of the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office’s troubled past — including the infamous hanging chad in the 2000 presidential election and more recently uncounted mail-in ballots — he has concerns about the legitimacy of the count.

“I’m a little concerned over the counting of those ballots, where those ballots came from and whether they were received in a timely fashion. Now I’m entitled to a manual recount, and I’ve requested twice now. … Where and when is the manual recount going to occur?” Kaplan asked. “I have not been informed of where and when the canvassing board is going to do the recount, and it raises some concerns given the history of this office.”

Usan did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.

The elections office later said a machine recount was set for Saturday night and Sunday morning in the court contest as well as a school board race.