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Florida Secretary of State Orders Recount in Senate, Guv Races

Florida Secretary of State Orders Recount in Senate, Guv Races

Brenda Snipes, Broward County supervisor of elections, right, speaks with officials before a canvasing board meeting Nov. 9, 2018, in Lauderhill, Fla. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper)

Saturday, 10 November 2018 02:02 PM

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.

In the Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott's lead over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson is less than 0.25 percentage points, which will require a hand recount of ballots from tabulation machines that couldn't determine which candidate got the vote.

President Donald Trump reacted to the news on Twitter from Europe.

"Trying to STEAL two big elections in Florida! We are watching closely!" he posted.

Earlier Saturday, Florida elections officials turned in unofficial vote tallies.

The recounts reflect a deeply divided electorate in a state that will play a critical role in the 2020 election and will determine whether Nelson will return to Washington for a fourth term or the Republicans will pad their majority in the Senate.

Gillum conceded to DeSantis on Tuesday night, but when the results began to narrow, he said every vote should count. DeSantis has said little about the recount and is instead proceeding as if he won the election, appointing a transition team and preparing to take office in January.

The battle for Nelson's Senate seat has been much more heated, with both sides filing lawsuits and trading verbal jabs. Scott has said Nelson is trying to steal the election, while Nelson is accusing Scott of trying to stop elections officials from counting every ballot. Trump has weighed in on behalf of Scott, calling the situation "a disgrace."

During a conference call Saturday on behalf of Scott, U.S. Sen Lindsay Graham said the voting problems in Florida "undercuts confidence in the electoral process."

"When it comes to these shenanigans, enough is enough," he said. "We believe Rick Scott won fair and square."

Scott had asked Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate elections departments in South Florida's Democrat-leaning Broward and Palm Beach counties after his lead narrowed in ballot-counting that continued through the week. However, a spokeswoman for the agency said Friday that there were no credible allegations of fraud; therefore, no active investigation.

A large crowd gathered outside the Broward elections office holding signs, waving American flags and chanting "USA USA."

A man with a bullhorn repeatedly yelled for elections supervisor Brenda Snipes to come out.

The governor, meanwhile, filed lawsuits in both counties seeking more information on how their ballots were being tallied. Nelson filed his own federal lawsuit Friday, seeking to postpone the Saturday deadline to submit unofficial election results.

Judges sided with Scott in rulings late Friday ordering election supervisors in the two counties to release information on ballot-counting sought by the governor.

Meanwhile, the Broward Canvassing Board met Friday to review ballots that had been initially deemed ineligible. Lawyers from the campaigns, journalists and citizens crowded into a room to observe the proceedings.

Scott's lead had narrowed by Saturday afternoon to 0.15 percentage points —a lead of less than 13,000 out of nearly 8.2 million ballots cast — below the threshold for a recount. Florida law requires a machine recount when the leading candidate's margin is 0.5 percentage points or less, and a hand recount if it's 0.25 or less.

In the race for governor, DeSantis was leading by 0.41 percentage points.

A third statewide race that could go to a recount — the agriculture commissioner race between Democrat Nikki Fried and Republican Matt Caldwell — is the tightest of all, with Fried holding a 5,326-vote lead, a margin of 0.07 percent.

© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

   
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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.
florida, recount, vote, scott, nelson, lawsuits
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2018-02-10
Saturday, 10 November 2018 02:02 PM
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