State-wide machine recount of votes was ordered in Florida

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The State of Florida in the United States has once again become the centre of attention after a state-wide machine recount of votes was ordered after last week’s midterm elections. The races for Governor, a Senate seat held by a Democratic incumbent and the position of State Agriculture Commissioner remain too close to call.

Those contests along with undecided elections in Georgia and Arizona remain the most high profile races yet to be settled while the drama in The Sunshine State, as Florida is known, has echoed the 2000 presidential recount which eventually saw George W. Bush controversially elected over Al Gore.

Because the margin in all three races in Florida fell below less than half of 1%, a machine recount was ordered as per state law by Florida’s Secretary of State this past weekend.

And there are two races of particular importance to national observers ,  the Governor’s race where Republican Ron DeSantis leads Democrat Andrew Gillum by 34 000 votes or 0.41% and the Senate race where outgoing Florida Governor Rick Scott leads Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson by 12500 votes or 0.15% – well within the margins required for the recount.

Gillum, who hopes to become the States’ first black Governor conceded on election night but has since withdrawn that concession as the race tightened. “I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every single vote. We count every vote and I say this recognizing that my fate in this may or may not change. What I do know is that every single Floridian who took time to go out, to cast their vote, to participate in this process, deserves the comfort of knowing that in a democratic society, and in this process, every vote will be counted. I have to imagine that if the shoe were on the other foot of my opponents, not one of them would seek a different outcome, not one of them. Not one of them would stand in the way of counting every vote.”

President Donald Trump tweeted Monday that the Florida election be called in favour of the Republican candidates in both the Senate and Governor races, claiming without evidence that large numbers of new ballots are showing up out of nowhere echoing claims by Republican Senate candidate Rick Scott.

“We’ve all seen the incompetence and irregularities in vote tabulations in Broward and Palm Beach for years. But here we go again. I will not sit idly by, while unethical liberals try to steal this election from the great people of Florida. Senator Nelson hired one of Hillary Clinton’s lawyers from D.C. and the first thing he did was to tell reporters that he is here to win the election. He did not say that he wants a full and fair election, or even an accurate vote count.”

Early indications were that Republicans would win both races but votes continued to be counted in democratic leaning counties ensuring that election night leads continued to shrink; with overseas military and civilians ballots still to be tabulated. Rick Scott accused Democrats of trying to steal the election.

“Every day since the election the left-wing activists in Broward County have been coming up with more and more ballots out of nowhere. We all know what is going on. Every person in Florida knows exactly what is happening. Their goal is to keep mysteriously finding more votes until election turns out the way they want. And when that fails they will file a bunch of lawsuits in order to try to overturn the will of the voters.”

Republican warnings of voter fraud have been rejected. “There have been allegations of fraud. Those are serious charges to recklessly off route there. There is no basis for it. To give a claim of fraud without any evidence I think is unacceptable, should be unacceptable in our editorial process. The votes have all been counted. The votes have all been transmitted to the state. As you may know there was a deadline of noon today, they have that through the canvassing board. The preliminary certifications went up there in advance of 12 noon. So that was what the law required, that has been complied with. We have complied with the judge’s order,” says General Counsel for the Broward County Supervisor of Elections Eugene Pettes.

The unofficial recount totals must be completed by Thursday afternoon this week as accusations of fraud and subsequent legal challenges in local court have conjured up memories of the fraught 2000 presidential recount that was eventually decided by the Supreme Court in Washington.

In the Georgia Governor’s race, Stacey Abrams, who hopes to become the first black female governor in the country, has filed a federal lawsuit asking for rejected absentee and provisional ballots to be counted in the hopes of forcing a recount there.  Democrat Kyrsten Sinema leads her Republican challenger by 1.17% in another tight race for Arizona’s Senate seat. Click below for more on the story: