- Associated Press - Saturday, November 10, 2018

TALLALHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Latest on the recounts in Florida’s U.S. Senate and governor elections (all times local):

7:50 p.m.

Miami-Dade County elections officials say they’ve started recounting ballots from Tuesday’s election.

Officials from the county’s elections office confirmed Saturday evening that they’ve started a machine recount, which means they will load paper ballots into scanning machines. This could take days, considering there were some 800,000 ballots cast.

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.

The Florida secretary of state earlier Saturday ordered the 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.

Nov. 15 is the deadline for each county to submit vote counts to the state.

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6:15 p.m.

A lawyer for Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson says the campaign is looking into whether vote-by-mail ballots handled by the same U.S. mail facility that processed explosive packages intended for Democratic leaders weren’t delivered on time.

Marc Elias says he’s concerned about news reports that ballots in an Opa-locka postal facility may not have been delivered before the 7 p.m. Election Day deadline. Opa-locka is in Miami-Dade County, which tends to heavily support Democratic candidates.

Elias says, “I would hope that we can all agree, I would hope that even folks on the other side of the aisle would agree that no one should be disenfranchised because the postal service, for one reason or another, was unable to deliver ballots.”

A 30-count indictment was handed up recently in Manhattan federal court against 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc of Plantation, Florida. Authorities say he sent improvised devices intended for numerous Democrats, critics of President Donald Trump and CNN. None of the devices exploded and no one was hurt.

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5:40 p.m.

Two voting rights groups are asking Gov. Rick Scott to remove himself from any oversight of the 2018 election. They said that if he doesn’t, they will take him to court.

In a letter to Scott released to the media, the League of Women Voters and Common Cause said he should step down to ensure there’s no appearance of any impropriety, undue influence or conflict of interest.

The groups said that Scott intentionally “politicized” his oversight of the elections by calling for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate his suspicions of voter fraud in South Florida.

The FDLE said it hasn’t launched an investigation of voter fraud, and the state’s election division, which Scott runs, said Saturday that its observers in Broward had seen “no evidence of criminal activity.”

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.

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4:30 p.m.

Republican Ron DeSantis says Florida election results are clear and he is moving forward as he prepares to be the state’s next governor.

“Those results are clear and unambiguous, just as they were on Election Night,” DeSantis, a former congressman, said in a video posted Saturday on YouTube by the Republican Party of Florida.

Unofficial election results submitted Saturday show DeSantis ahead of Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by less than 0.5 percentage points. Under state law, that margin requires a machine recount of ballots.

While DeSantis said it’s important to follow state law, he added, “With the election behind us, it’s now time to come together as a state as we prepare to serve all Floridians.”

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3:40 p.m.

Democrat Andrew Gillum has withdrawn his concession in the Florida gubernatorial race following a recount.

“I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every single vote,” Gillum said at a press conference in Tallahassee on Saturday.

Unofficial election results showed Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis ahead of Gillum by less than 0.5 percentage points. Under state law, such a margin requires a machine recount of ballots.

Gillum had conceded the race to DeSantis on Tuesday night.

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1:55 p.m.

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.

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12:40 p.m.

The deadline to submit unofficial vote tallies in Florida’s election has passed.

County elections supervisors had until noon Saturday to submit results. Now the state must announce whether recounts are needed in the U.S. Senate and governor races.

As the deadline arrived, Republican former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis led Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by less than 0.5 percentage points in the governor’s race, which would require a machine recount of ballots.

In the Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s lead over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson was less than 0.25 percentage points, which would require a hand recount of ballots in which tabulation machines couldn’t detect a vote.


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