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Vote Counting Continues in Close US Elections

Votes are still being counted in more than a dozen too-close-to-call elections in the U.S. two days after balloting ended, leaving the eventual political shape of Congress in doubt.

There are uncalled Senate contests in Arizona and Florida, where Republican candidates have narrow leads, and in California, where incumbent Senator Dianne Feinstein has a sizeable edge in an intraparty contest against another Democrat, even as absentee ballots are still being tallied.

Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally is ahead in the Arizona Senate election over Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, another congresswoman, by 17,000 votes. In the Florida Senate race, Governor Rick Scott has pulled 22,000 votes ahead of the incumbent Democrat, Senator Bill Nelson, who has called for a recount.

There are 12 unsettled races for Republican-held seats in the House of Representatives, leaving open the possibility that Democrats could claim some of them when vote-counting is finished and add to the net gain of 30 seats they already have achieved in taking House control for the first time in eight years when the new Congress takes office in early January.

In addition, the outcome of a close contest for the Georgia state governorship remains in doubt, even as the state’s Republican secretary of state, Brian Kemp, declared victory. Democrat Stacey Abrams formed a litigation team for possible legal challenges that could send the contest to a runoff election.

Abrams, looking to become the first African-American woman to become a U.S. state governor, is claiming that thousands of as-yet uncounted provisional, mailed-in and absentee votes could cut into Kemp’s 63,000-vote lead and push his share of the vote below 50 percent, requiring the runoff vote. As of Thursday, Kemp had compiled 50.3 percent of the vote to 48.7 percent for Abrams, with the remainder going to a minor party candidate. 

Kemp announced his resignation as Georgia’s secretary of state, where he oversaw elections, including his own for governor, so he could focus on transitioning to his new position as leader of the southern state.

Abrams and her supporters have contended that Kemp, in his role overseeing elections in the state, helped suppress voting by minorities in the state.

In neighboring Florida, Democrat Andrew Gillum, the Tallahassee mayor, conceded his defeat in the governor’s race on election night Tuesday to Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis, who appeared to have won by about 43,000 votes.

But on Thursday, the Gillum campaign said, “It has become clear there are many more uncounted ballots than was originally reported. Our campaign, along with our attorney … is ready for any outcome,” including a potential recount. The campaign said it is “committed to ensuring” every vote is counted.

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