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Tuesday, 17 September, 2002, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
Results due in Florida poll recount
Election officials surrounded by voting apparatus in Florida
Officials found hundreds of unaccounted ballots
Officials in Florida are due to finish a recount of votes cast in the electoral race for the Democratic Party's candidate for state governor after candidate and former US Attorney General Janet Reno demanded results be checked.

Janet Reno
Reno has refused to concede the election
The formal results are due at the office of the Florida Secretary of State by 1700 local time [2100 GMT] on Tuesday.

Ms Reno narrowly lost the election to rival candidate Bill McBride, according to unofficial results from the election last week.

The state canvassing board said that Mr McBride had 44.5% of the vote, compared with Ms Reno's 43.9%, with the difference in votes totalling only about 8,200.

However officials are continuing to find hundreds of uncounted ballots from faulty electronic machines, with more than 2,000 previously unaccounted for votes for Ms Reno discovered in her electoral stronghold of Miami-Dade County over the weekend, Reuters news agency reported.

Ms Reno has said that, for the sake of party unity, she will not contest the results if the final count shows that she lost the election. That would enable the victor to concentrate on defeating Republican Governor Jeb Bush, her campaign lawyer Alan Greer said.

But she has refused to concede the election.

Embarrassment

The election disarray is yet another embarrassment for Florida, which had spent $32m setting up a new computerised voting system following the controversy of the 2000 presidential election, when problems with the old punch-card systems held up the final result for more than a month.

Bill McBride
Rival McBride had surged in popularity in the past few weeks

Ms Reno had been a clear favourite throughout the campaign, but in the past few days leading up to the vote Mr McBride had surged in the polls on the back of a string of endorsements.

He is seen by many as the strongest threat to Jeb Bush, brother of US President George W Bush, with analysts saying that Ms Reno may be too liberal even for Democratic voters.

Among the irregularities noted on the day of voting were new machines that failed to connect, while others rejected voters' identification cards.

Mr Bush said described the process as "shameful".

See also:

11 Sep 02 | Americas
09 Dec 00 | Americas
17 Jul 01 | Americas
05 Jun 01 | Americas
21 Mar 01 | Americas
08 Jan 01 | Americas
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