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Obama officially wins Florida after 4-day count

  • President Barack Obama holds up a pen as he speaks about the economy and the deficit, Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — President Barack Obama was declared the winner of Florida's 29 electoral votes Saturday, ending a four-day count with a razor-thin margin that narrowly avoided an automatic recount that would have brought back memories of 2000.

No matter the outcome, Obama had already clinched re-election and now has 332 electoral votes to Romney's 206.

The Florida Secretary of State's Office said that with almost 100 percent of the vote counted, Obama led Republican challenger Mitt Romney 50 percent to 49.1 percent, a difference of about 74,000 votes. That was over the half-percent margin where a computer recount would have been automatically ordered unless Romney had waived it.

There is a Nov. 16 deadline for overseas and military ballots, but under Florida law, recounts are based on Saturday's results. Only a handful of overseas and military ballots are believed to remain outstanding.

It's normal for election supervisors in Florida and other states to spend days after any election counting absentee, provisional, military and overseas ballots. Usually, though, the election has already been called on election night or soon after because the winner's margin is beyond reach.


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