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Palm Beach County election officials prepare to recount ballots on Thursday in West Palm Beach, Florida. Photo: Michele Eve Sandberg/AFP/Getty Images

Election officials in Florida have reached a Thursday afternoon deadline to complete a statewide machine recount in three contested elections for Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner, AP reports. But Palm Beach has missed the mandated deadline, which election officials said was due to technical issues with the county's out-of-date machines.

Why it matters: This comes just minutes after a federal judge rejected a request sought by Democrats to suspend Thursday's 3 p.m. deadline — a significant defeat for Democrat Bill Nelson, who sought the request and is trailing behind Republican Gov. Rick Scott in a tight Senate race. The results will be certified Tuesday.

Details: Nelson's lawsuit had initially sought to prevent the state from dismissing contested mail ballots that were flagged for signature problems.

  • But in another ruling, a federal judge said the more than 4,000 voters in 45 of Florida’s 67 counties whose mailed-in and provisional ballots were rejected have until Saturday at 5 p.m. to “cure” the issue. It's unclear how many disputed ballots are in the remaining 22 counties.

Update [4:20pm]: Marc Elias, Nelson's lead recount lawyer, said a suit has been filed to require a hand count of all ballots in the Palm Beach County due to machine failure during the recount.

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COVID-19 drives smell loss awareness, research

A health worker carries out an olfactory test outside Buenos Aires. Photo: Alejandro Pagni/AFP via Getty Images

The pandemic has thrust a relatively unknown ailment, anosmia — or smell loss — into the international spotlight.

Why it matters: Researchers hope smell testing becomes as standard as the annual flu shot, helping to detect early signs of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Senate passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate voted 50-49 on Saturday to approve President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: COVID relief has been a central promise for Biden, and passing the sweeping package has been a major priority for the administration and congressional Democrats.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
3 hours ago - Health

Why we need to know COVID's origins

The WHO's headquarters in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Geopolitical tensions are foiling efforts to get to the bottom of how COVID-19 originated.

Why it matters: Insights into how COVID-19 began can help us prevent future pandemics — especially if it involved any kind of leak or accident at a virology lab.