Three recounts coming in state races with reporting deadline passed

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Machine recounts will happen in three statewide Florida races Saturday, as the deadline for unofficial results has passed.

The races for U.S. Senate, Governor, and Commissioner of Agriculture were all inside of the threshold, 0.5 percent, as the Noon deadline passed Saturday, which requires an automatic machine recount.

In the U.S. Senate race, Gov. Rick Scott has watched a lead of around 57,000 votes when he declared victory shrink by the day now to fewer than 13,000 votes as ballots continued to be counted particularly in Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

Those two counties were two of the four where the controversy centered following the 2000 presidential election recount.

Scott blasted the two counties in a statement Thursday night, calling elections officials in both counties “incompetent.”

“Both Broward and Palm Beach Counties have failed in their duty to follow Florida law which requires that vote by mail and absentee ballots are accounted within 30 minutes of polls closing,” Scott said. “We’ve all seen the incompetence and irregularities in vote tabulations in Broward and Palm Beach for years. Well…here we are again.”

Scott and Nelson have been in a war of words as the count has closed, with Scott accusing Nelson and Democrats of fraud trying to steal the election, while Nelson claims Scott is trying to abuse his power to rig the election.

“Clearly, Rick Scott is trying to stop all the votes from being counted and he’s impeding the democratic process,” Nelson said Friday. “The reason why he feels that way is obvious: we believe when every legal ballot is counted we’ll win this election.”

Republicans have been especially critical in Broward County. Sen. Marco Rubio called Broward County Supervisor of Election Brenda Snipes’ office the worst in the nation.

“If it’s not the worst elections department in America or the worst-run elections department in America, I would hate to see the one worse run than this department,” Rubio told The News Service of Florida, adding that Broward has a long history of election problems.

In the governor’s race the gap is wider, DeSantis leads by about 33,000 votes, but it too has closed to within the recount margin during the week. The closest race is the one for Commissioner of Agriculture, where Democrat Nikki Fried now leads Republican Matt Caldwell by 5,000 votes. When Caldwell declared victory Tuesday, he led by 41,000 votes.

Results from the machine recount are required to be turned in by Thursday. If any race is still within 0.25 percent, a manual recount will be ordered.

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