Florida vote count more or less done

Nov. 10, 2012 at 4:50 PM
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Florida declared President Barack Obama the winner in the state Saturday as Palm Beach County completed its vote count.

Obama won the state's 29 electoral votes, giving him a 332-206 victory over Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

Palm Beach was the last county in the state to finish, hours before the state deadline to submit an unofficial total, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

Florida was the largest state in play but its 29 electoral votes became irrelevant in the presidential race Tuesday night when Ohio was called for Obama, giving him the electoral votes he needed to defeat Romney. Florida elections officials had to deal with a complex ballot that included 11 statewide questions.

In Palm Beach County, misprinted absentee ballots that failed to include judicial candidates complicated the count. They had to be copied so they could be read by tabulating machines.

Some military absentee ballots could still come in before the Nov. 16 deadline.

CNN said Obama carried the state by 74,000 votes, or 50.1 percent of the vote, leading Romney by less than 1 percentage point. If that holds, the president will have carried eight battleground states, losing only in North Carolina, which many analysts said was not truly in play this year.

Elections officials certified Democrat Patrick Murphy as the winner in Tuesday's election over one-term incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West.

West campaign workers claimed their view of the count was deliberately blocked.

"This is a sham," Medora Reading said. "We can't hear. We can't see. ... Why should we trust them?"

The certification came one day after a Florida judge denied West's motion to impound ballots and voting machines for a possible recount. Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge David F. Crow ruled West's motion was premature because no official result had been announced.

West had raised the prospect of voting irregularities but the judge said there was no evidence any statute had been violated, the Fort Pierce Tribune reported.

West, first elected in 2010 and a favorite of the Tea Party, had not conceded the election as of midday Saturday.

Gov. Rick Scott, in an interview with The Miami Herald, said he will consider suggestions on improving the voting process in Florida, which was marred by long lines in Miami on Election Day. Some people who were in line when the polls closed did not get to vote until after midnight.

Scott said he thought the election went well under the circumstances.

"All these ballot initiatives have an effect on how long it takes somebody to vote," he said.

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