Florida elections in limbo as possible recount looms

Likely recounts in Florida’s Senate and gubernatorial races have put the Sunshine State in the national spotlight again — 18 years after the US Supreme Court stopped a Florida recount in the presidential race, giving George W. Bush the White House.

“The recounts will be nationally watched . . . [we’re] under a microscope,” Secretary of State Ken Detzner said on a conference call with county election officials, the Miami Herald reported.

In the Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott led Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson by 0.21 percentage points out of nearly 8.2 million votes cast — a margin well below the 0.5-point threshold that would trigger an automatic machine recount under state law.

In the race for governor, GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis leads Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by 0.47 percentage points, with thousands of votes still uncounted.

“It has become clear there are many more uncounted ballots than was originally reported. Our campaign, along with our attorney . . . is ready for any outcome,” Gillum’s campaign said.

Nelson’s campaign was also eager to pursue the recount, a move that Scott’s campaign called “sad” and “desperate.”

Meanwhile, in Arizona, the Senate race was still too close to call, with officials expected to take days to tally hundreds of thousands of uncounted ballots.

Late Thursday, ballot counters said Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, who had been slightly behind Republican Martha McSally since election night, had taken a 48.9-to-48.8 percent lead — with more ballots to be counted.

Arizona GOP officials had filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the way some counties count mail-in ballots and seeking to throw out those that had been “improperly” verified.

Most Arizona voters cast mail ballots, which under state law must have their signatures confirmed before being counted.

If a problem with a signature is identified, county recorders are allowed to contact the voter. The lawsuit claims two counties improperly permitted voters to fix problems even after Election Day and that a uniform standard should be enforced.

In Georgia, the hard-fought race for governor remained unresolved with Democrat Stacey Abrams forming a team for possible legal challenges even as Republican Brian Kemp met with the current governor to begin planning a transition.

Kemp, who has 50.3 percent of the vote, declared victory late Wednesday, hours after the Abrams campaign said it believed thousands of uncounted provisional, mail-in and absentee ballots could still force a runoff.

Abrams and voting-rights groups are crying foul that Kemp, as Georgia’s secretary of state, is the state’s top election official, meaning he’s overseeing his own election.

Kemp on Thursday announced his resignation as secretary of state, saying it would ensure “public confidence” while freeing him to focus on preparing for his new role as governor.

If no candidate reaches 50 percent, the top two finishers advance to a Dec. 4 run-off.

With Wires

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