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Obama wins Florida with thin margin over Romney

After a lengthy delay, President Barack Obama has collected Florida's 29 electoral votes. NBC's Kerry Sanders reports.

 

President Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney in Florida, NBC news reported Saturday, ending a four-day count with a thin margin of the popular vote, though substantial enough to avoid an automatic recount.

As a result, Obama garners the state's 29 electoral votes, for a national total of 332 votes to Romney's 206.

Regardless of the outcome, Obama had already clinched re-election.

The Florida Secretary of State's Office said that with almost 100 percent of the vote counted, Obama led 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.

But on election night this year, it was difficult for officials —and the media — to call the presidential race here, in part because the margin was so close and the voting stretched into the evening.

If there had been a recount, it would not be as difficult as the lengthy one in 2000. The state no longer uses punch-card ballots, which became known for their hanging chads. All 67 counties now use optical scan ballots where voters mark their selections manually.

Republican George W. Bush won the 2000 contest after the Supreme Court declared him the winner over Democrat Al Gore by a scant 537 votes.

The win gave Obama victories in eight of the nine swing states, losing only North Carolina. In addition to Florida, he won Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Virginia, Colorado and Nevada.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.