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With recounts underway and legal challenges intensifying, President Donald Trump on Monday demanded that the tight Florida races for governor and the state's seat in the U.S. Senate be called for Republicans because an "honest vote count is no longer possible."
"The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged," Trump said in a post on Twitter, without citing any evidence for his dramatic claims.
State election monitors have said there is no evidence of voter fraud, and the agency tasked with overseeing election integrity said it had not received any allegations in writing, despite accusations from Republicans.
Florida started a contentious ballot recount over the weekend in its tight Senate and gubernatorial races. In a state where a recount — and subsequent Supreme Court case — decided the 2000 presidential election, the process has already become bitter and prompted Republicans to accuse their opponents of attempting to "steal" the races.
Before the recount, Republican Gov. Rick Scott led Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson by 0.2 percentage points, or about 13,000 votes. The contest will help to set the partisan composition of the Senate, which is critical of Trump's ability to put conservative judges on federal benches. The GOP is projected to keep its majority in the Senate, but a Scott win would help the party expand its control of the chamber.
NBC News has said the Senate race too close to call. Nelson on Monday called for Scott to recuse himself from "any role" in the recount process, saying it "is the only way that we can ensure that the people's votes are protected."
Meanwhile, pro-Trump former GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis leads Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by 0.4 percentage points, or about 33,000 votes. The result has huge stakes for the policies the third most populous U.S. state pursues, as well as congressional redistricting after the 2020 Census.
NBC News has projected that DeSantis is the apparent winner in the gubernatorial race.
Florida's secretary of state, Republican Ken Detzner, has ordered the recount to be completed by Thursday. If a machine recount shows the Senate race margin within 0.25 percentage points, a manual recount would then take place.
The state is still awaiting a full accounting of ballots coming from military members and overseas voters, which have to arrive by Friday in order to be counted.
Trump, Scott and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio have all alleged that Democrats aim to steal the election. Scott filed a lawsuit Sunday against Brenda Snipes, the election supervisor in Broward County, a Democratic-leaning area and the state's second most populous county.
The litigation asks a judge to order law enforcement to take custody of voting machines, tallying devices and ballots when not in use during the recount, according to The Associated Press. Scott alleges Snipes did not account for the votes left to be counted and failed to report results regularly as required by law.
Depending on how lawsuits play out, the recount could take longer than expected.