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Florida Recount Deadline Approaches


The deadline for Florida's election recount has passed. The state's 67 counties had until noon to submit official results in several key races. And the results are in. The state's election process has been marred by technical failures, human error as well as accusations of bias, even unfounded claims of fraud by the president of the United States. Now that the official deadline has passed, will the recriminations and legal challenges end? NPR's Miles Parks is in Tallahassee, Fla. And he has the latest. Good morning.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. What have you heard?

PARKS: So we just got the results in literally moments ago. The secretary of state just posted the official results. And it looks like Florida is going to have two Republican senators for the first time in over 130 years. The official final margin just posted between Republican Rick Scott and Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson is about .12 percent in the Senate race. Also, last night, we know that Democrat Andrew Gillum officially conceded in a Facebook video saying that the fight continues, alluding to his career in politics not being over. He's only 39 years old. So it looks like Republicans in Florida are going to be celebrating.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Do we know how many votes that is that separates the two contenders in the Senate race?

PARKS: It looks like just over 10,000 votes between the two senators, which is very, very close, too.


PARKS: We saw a second recount in the first unofficial results. Obviously, election night, it was close to over 50,000 votes separating the two. But as votes continued to be counted, that margin dwindled all the way down to 12,000 after the most recent recount. And this official results is reflecting the machine recount as well as the manual hand-counting of some ballots, and it looks like just over 10,000 votes between Scott and Nelson.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK, so not substantially different from what the votes showed on voting day. Have we heard anything yet from the Nelson campaign?

PARKS: We have not heard anything, especially in the way of concessions. Scott's side has been calling every day for that concession. Today, his campaign released a statement that said Nelson has a choice - be remembered as the statesman who graciously conceded after 42 years of public service or be remembered as the sore loser who refused to face the people he served. We just got word moments ago that Nelson has announced - is going to make an - some sort of announcement in about two hours. But we'll be watching if it's a concession or if it's a sign that he is going to continue fighting these results.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Right. There's been tons of legal challenges over these counts, right? Have those all been resolved?

PARKS: Most of them have been. Nelson's campaign and the Democrats have been talking for the past 12 days that they needed some sort of kind of royal flush of lawsuits to net the votes they needed to close this margin. A federal judge has not given them those victories, ruling against them in almost all of the lawsuits, including - they've made requests to accept mail ballots that were received after Election Day as well as a request to change the rules about how some ballots were kind of incorrectly marked. And they wanted those to count. A federal judge denied that request as well.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. NPR's Miles Parks with the latest news out of Florida that, indeed, the numbers have come in. And it looks like two Republicans will be taking over in Florida. Thanks so much.

PARKS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Miles Parks is a reporter on NPR's Washington Desk. He covers voting and elections, and also reports on breaking news.

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