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Just to add to the intrigue, the Florida gubernatorial election, which Democrat Andrew Gillum conceded to Republican Ron DeSantis, now sits on the verge of an automatic recount as well.

A recount is mandatory if the winning candidate's margin is less than 0.5 percentage points when the first unofficial count is verified Saturday by Florida's secretary of state.

In yet a third statewide seat - the Cabinet position of agriculture commissioner - the candidates were separated by 483 votes out of more than 8 million cast - a margin of 0.006 percent.

"Mr. DeSantis's victory margin has since shrunk to 0.47 percentage points - three-hundredths of a point below the recount threshold", the New York Times reported.

Gillum initially conceded to DeSantis Tuesday night, but Gillum's campaign team released a statement Thursday saying they "operated with the best information available about the number of outstanding ballots left to count".

And the recounts now have echoes of 2000: Gillum's campaign has hired Barry Richard to represent them during the recount.

Florida, the state that dragged the 2000 USA presidential election to a crawl and almost broke the country's storied democratic process is once again headed toward the uncertainty of a statewide recount. Both are lawyering up and demanding voter information from county election officials as a major recount battle gets underway in Florida.

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The Republican Party had no immediate response to the developments, but Mr. Scott's campaign said bluntly that Mr. Elias was launching an effort to steal the election.

Scherer criticized Broward Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda Snipes for the slow pace of ballot-counting, two days after the polls have closed.

If the margins hold through 12 p.m. Saturday, elections supervisors will begin the statewide machine recount process.

"You actually can not predict which way the shift is going to be", said David O'Brien, an attorney with FairVote.

State officials said they can't extend the deadlines.

"There are seven precincts in Broward County where the electronic systems failed and the ballots are being delivered by thumb drive, so the numbers are still up in the air", a spokesman for Nelson's campaign said.

Nikki Fried leads Matt Caldwell by just 575 votes, according to the Florida Division of Elections.

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As of late Thursday afternoon, it was the only Florida county that had not finished tabulating ballots cast during early voting and was one of two counties that had not finished counting ballots submitted by mail.

Nelson, who is now losing to Republican Rick Scott by just 22,000 votes (about 0.26 percent), has not accepted defeat.

Recounts usually don't shift enough votes to change the apparent victor.

"No, I am not", Snipes said.

More than 48 hours after the country concluded the midterm elections, it's still unknown who will be Florida's next United States senator, governor and agriculture commissioner, or how long it will be before those pronouncements can be made. Florida voters fill in paper ballots by hand using a pen and no longer cast the punch-card ballots that produced the infamous "hanging chads" in the 2000 presidential election.

The state's elections unexpectedly devolved into calamity Thursday thanks largely to thousands of votes belatedly trickling out of heavily Democratic South Florida.

The AP has not called a victor in the Senate race. "Nelson is going to be declared the victor and return to the U.S. Senate", Elias said Thursday. Canvassing boards conduct the recount by running ballots through vote tabulation machines. "Nelson will be in the lead going into the recount, although I would say it's a jump ball", Elias said in a conference call with reporters Thursday.

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