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Saturday
Nov102018

Tensions High as Flordia Election Recount Begins

(CNN) -- The counting is over. Now, the recounting begins.

More than three days after the polls closed in Florida, the secretary of state announced on Saturday afternoon that the razor-thin races for governor, senator and agriculture commissioner will be reviewed in a series of recounts.

According to unofficial results filed by the counties, Republican Gov. Rick Scott leads incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson by more than 12,500 votes, or about .15%. The spread in the governor's race is larger, with Republican former Rep. Ron DeSantis ahead of Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by nearly 34,000 votes, for a lead of .41%. In the narrowest contest, Democratic agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried's advantage stands at 5,326 votes — just .06% — over Republican Matt Caldwell.

With the margins in all three contests at under .5%, the votes will now be recounted by machine. That process must be finished by Thursday at 3 pm ET. Races within .25% will then go to a hand recount of overvotes and undervotes. An overvote means a voter selected more than the allotted options on the ballot; an undervote means a vote selected fewer than the available choices or, in these races, none. The Senate race and the contest for agriculture commissioner both currently both fall within .25%.

The Senate race and the contest for agriculture commissioner both currently both fall within .25%.

In a statement after the unofficial count was made public, Scott's campaign called on Nelson to opt out of a recount, which is his option under state law.

"It's time for Senator Nelson to accept reality and spare the state of the Florida the time, expense and discord of a recount," said Scott spokesman Chris Hartline.

While the politicians tweeted and activists kicked off new protests this weekend, demonstrators on the streets outside the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office on Friday targeted Snipes, chanting "lock her up" and "fake votes don't count" as she and others worked inside trying to finish the initial vote count. "Make America Great Again" and "Trump 2020" signs and hats were also visible as a group carrying signs supporting Scott and DeSantis were met by another backing the Democrats, as nose-to-nose screaming matches nearly escalated into physical altercations.

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