Nov. 9 (UPI) — The Senate races in Florida and Arizona, and the governor’s race in Georgia remained undecided on Friday, three days after midterm elections were held.
Florida’s U.S. Senate race remained too close to call Friday. The state’s Department of State said Friday morning that Republican Gov. Rick Scott led Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson by 15,046 votes, or 0.18 percent of the total votes cast. Scott’s lead has narrowed since Tuesday, when he declared victory with a 56,000-vote lead.
Continued vote-counting in Broward and Palm Beach counties has narrowed the margin between the candidates, and unofficial results must be reported to the secretary of state by noon on Saturday. Nelson’s campaign has sued to extend that deadline.
About 75 GOP protesters assembled on Friday at the office of Broward County elections chief Brenda Snipes after Scott asked for a state police investigation into the vote count, citing “rampant fraud” in the county.
“Lock her up” and “Stop the steal” were among chants heard at the demonstration.
President Donald Trump said Friday the federal government could be involved in the vote count.
“If you look at Broward and Palm Beach [counties] to a lesser extent, they have had a horrible history,” Trump said. “And if you look at the person, in this case a woman, involved, she has had a horrible history. All of a sudden they are finding votes out of nowhere. Every couple of hours, it [Scott’s lead] goes down a little bit.”
Broward County traditionally exhibits a high rate of “undervoting” in its elections, in which many voters ignore one or more contests on the ballot. In Tuesday’s case, the Florida governor’s race saw 3.7 percent more votes cast in the county than in the Senate race. The difference, in the Senate race, amounts to over 26,000 votes. No other Florida county exhibited more than a 0.8 percent difference in the number of votes in the gubernatorial and Senate races. Since contests for higher elected offices tend to draw the most attention and interest, voters are less likely to skip them when voting.
It suggests an irregularity in Broward County’s voting procedures, which may be the design of the ballot, polling news website Fivethirtyeight suggested Friday. Paper ballots used Tuesday put the Senate race at the bottom left, where some voters could have missed it. The governor’s race was at the top center of the ballot, immediately beneath the voting instructions.
In Georgia, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams vowed to stay in the race against Republican Brian Kemp until every ballot is counted. Kemp, who was Georgia’s Secretary of State and administrator of the election until his resignation Thursday, said about 25,000 provisional and absentee ballots have yet to be counted.
As of Friday, Kemp had received 50.3 percent of the vote, or 1,979,913 votes. Abrams had 48.7 percent, with other candidates receiving 0.9 percent, NBC News reported.
The Georgia Democratic Party alleged in a lawsuit filed this week that Daugherty County voters were denied the opportunity to cast ballots by mail in the gubernatorial election.
Trump, who campaigned for Kemp, weighed in on the Georgia election as well on Friday, sarcastically suggesting on Twitter that Russian President Vladimir Putin should be blamed for any missing votes in the state.
You mean they are just now finding votes in Florida and Georgia – but the Election was on Tuesday? Let’s blame the Russians and demand an immediate apology from President Putin!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2018
The latest count on Friday in Arizona’s Senate race indicated Democrat Kyrsten Sinema held a 9,000-vote lead over Republican Martha McSally, with about 400,000 votes not yet counted. The difference between the candidates at the moment is 0.5 percentage points.
About three-quarters of Arizona votes are mail-in ballots, and Republicans have challenged the process of counting them in the state’s two largest counties. The lawsuit targets Maricopa and Pima counties, which allow voters to make changes to their ballots, notably signature changes, for up to five days after Election Day. The tedious process slows the counting of votes.
The Arizona Republican Party sued Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes on Friday, accusing him of “premeditated destruction of evidence” over verification of signatures on some early ballots.