Florida orders recount in US Senate, governor races

Florida orders recount in US Senate, governor races
Florida orders recount in US Senate, governor races. picture-alliance/ZUMA Wire/S. Keeler
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The state of Florida has ordered recounts for three midterm elections, including US Senate and gubernatorial races.

Florida law mandates a machine recount if the difference in a race is within 0.5 percent, and a hand recount if it is within 0.25 percent.

The recounts are reminiscent of the 2000 presidential election that saw Florida play a pivotal role in the outcome of that race between Republican victor, former President George W. Bush, and Democratic candidate Al Gore.

Police protection

Police had to protect the offices of Broward County's elections supervisor after scores of Trump supporters gathered outside and accused officials of attempting to steal the vote.

The protests were fueled by allegations of electoral fraud by US President Donald Trump and Senator Marco Rubio. However, the allegations were quashed by electoral and law enforcement officials, who said there was no evidence to support the rumors.

What are the differences?

For the Senate race, outgoing Republican Governor Rick Scott currently leads with 12,562 votes over incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson out of nearly 8.2 million cast, amounting to a 0.15 percent difference.

For the governor's race, Republican Ron DeSantis leads with 33,684 votes over Democrat Andrew Gillum out of nearly 8.2 million cast, amounting to a 0.41 percent difference.

Read more: After US midterms, hate crime survivors hope for improvement, reconciliation

Trump alleges fraud

Parties have alleged electoral fraud on both sides of the aisle, most notably in the counties of Broward and Palm Beach, where Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate is located.

Tweeting from France on Saturday, Trump decried the recounts and accused authorities of "trying to steal two big elections in Florida." He warned that "we are watching closely."

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, however, has denied such allegations. "Our staff has seen no evidence of criminal activity at this time," he said.

Read more: Has US voter suppression become systematic?

What happens next?

Electoral authorities have until 3 p.m. local time on Thursday to deliver results. In Miami-Dade County, Elections Supervisor Christina White said she had ordered high-speed ballot counting machines to be delivered by Monday. Without them, Miami-Dade would be unable to count all the votes, she said.

"There is literally not enough time to scan 813,000 ballots in the five days we have," White told the Miami Herald newspaper. "Mathematically, it's impossible."

Read more: Opinion: Trump fever unbroken amid blue ripple in US midterm elections

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ls/jm (Reuters, AFP)

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