Florida and Arizona results on knife edge

 news.com.au  11/10/2018 2:33:05 AM  3

Two US Senate races remain too close to call three days after the US midterm elections as both contests appear headed for recounts.

The Senate seats are critical for President Donald Trump and the Republicans, who on election night touted an increase of up to three seats in their majority in the upper chamber of the US Congress.

The two undecided races are in Florida and Arizona. Republicans would still have a majority in the Senate if the Democrats ultimately win them, but not by as much as they previously projected.

Trump on Friday addressed vote counting in Florida prior to leaving for France to attend ceremonies commemorating the centenary of the end of World War I.

"All of a sudden they're finding votes out of nowhere," Trump said, noting that the total for the Republican candidate he campaigned for, Governor Rick Scott, has shrunk each time a batch of votes is reported from Broward and Palm Beach counties.

He called the process a "disgrace" and said the federal government might step in.

Unofficial vote totals published by Florida's election authority showed Scott leading with 50.09 per cent of the vote to 49.91 for incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson. The difference is about 15,000 votes out of more than 8 million cast.

Scott has sued to obtain more access to ballot information from the two counties in question. At a news conference Thursday he blasted local election officials in the counties for what he called "rank incompetence" and alleged fraud took place.

In a victory for Scott late Friday a judge ordered Broward County's election supervisor to allow immediate inspection of voter records. The ruling came after an emergency hearing on Scott's lawsuit.

Hundreds of people protested outside the courtroom, each side accusing the other of trying to steal the election.

The state's election law requires an automatic recount when a margin of victory is a half percentage point or less. A decision on a recount was expected on Saturday, according to Fox News.

The situation in Florida has echoes of the bitter battle waged in the state after the 2000 presidential election that resulted in victory for George W Bush over Al Gore. The fight took weeks to settle and went all the way to the US Supreme Court.

In Arizona unofficial results show Democrat Kyrsten Sinema with a lead of about 9100 votes over Republican Martha McSally out of about 1.8 million cast. Sinema has 49.09 per cent to 48.61 per cent for McSally. That race also appeared headed for a recount.

An agreement was reached in court in Arizona regarding the verification of signatures on ballots, the Arizona Republic online news site reported Friday.

All of Arizona's counties will allow voters to verify the signatures on their ballots through 5 pm on November 14, according to a settlement agreed on in Maricopa County Superior Court, news portal azcentral reported.

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