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Recounts, lawsuits loom in several states, including Florida

On Saturday, machine recounts were ordered in three statewide Florida races, evoking memories of the presidential election drama in 2000. The Democratic candidate for governor, Andrew Gillum, rescinded his concession until “every single vote” is counted; the state's Senate race is even closer. Election results are also still outstanding in Arizona, Georgia and Mississippi. Lisa Desjardins reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Nearly a week after Election Day 2018, there are still votes uncounted and races left to call.

    The drama over who won and lost will stretch into a second week.

    Lisa Desjardins brings us up to speed.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    These are the sights and sounds of a high-stakes recount: an election center buzzing with staffers, scanning machines gobbling up piles of ballots, and in Florida, no less, evoking memories of chads and undervotes and the state's weeks-long post-election drama in 2000.

    This year's machine recount of eight million ballots was ordered Saturday, in three dead-heat statewide races, including the race for governor between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum, as well as the race for U.S. Senate between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Bill Nelson.

    DeSantis was leading in the unofficial tally for the governor's race, and in this Saturday video, he made clear he was already laying the groundwork for a DeSantis administration.

  • Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla.:

    Since the election a few days ago, we have begun our transition efforts to build an administration that can secure Florida's future. With the election behind us, it's now time to come together as a state as we prepare to serve all Floridians.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    But that same day, Gillum, who had conceded on election night, said he's taking it back.

  • Andrew Gillum:

    Let me say clearly, I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every single vote, that we count every vote. And I say this recognizing that my fate in this may or may not change.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    They're in a recount because of how narrow DeSantis' lead ended up being after the unofficial count, about four-tenths of 1 percent. Scott's lead in the Senate race over Nelson is even narrower, and now litigation is involved.

    Results from the machine recount in Florida are due by 3:00 p.m. Thursday. If it is still close, there could be a hand recount of some ballots. On the other side of the country, Arizona officials have said there won't be a complete initial count in the Senate race there until Thursday. Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has a slight lead over Republican Martha McSally.

    And in Georgia, Republican Brian Kemp is still in position to avoid a runoff for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams. The deadline for counties to certify there is 5:00 p.m. tomorrow. But Abrams filed a lawsuit Sunday asking to extend that deadline, arguing not all potential votes have been vetted and counted.

    And there is one last unresolved Senate election. Mississippi Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith is defending her Senate seat in a runoff race. A video emerged this weekend showing Hyde-Smith praising a supporter by saying — quote — "If he invited me to a public hanging, I would be on the front row."

    Her Democratic opponent, Mike Espy, who is black, called the remark "reprehensible."

    In a statement, Hyde-Smith said it was an exaggerated expression of regard and called the idea of a negative connotation ridiculous.

    The Mississippi runoff is in just over two weeks.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Lisa Desjardins.

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