Who Won Florida, Americans gave President Barack Obama a second term in office, but it still wasn’t clear late tonight whether the president had won the key battleground state of Florida.
The vote in the state, which introduced the terms “hanging chads” and “butterfly ballots” to the masses in its historic 2000 presidential election, was too close to call long after Republican challenger Mitt Romney conceded his loss.
Into the night, Obama was edging out Romney by about 45,000 votes – or 0.53 percentage points – out of a total of 8.27 million votes cast in Florida, with about 99% of the votes counted.
“It’s 1.42 in the morning and I just heard there are still people voting in Miami-Dade County,” tweeted Chris Cate, spokesman for Florida’s Secretary of State, who is responsible for elections.
“Kudos to their commitment to voting!”
The head of elections for Florida’s Miami-Dade County, which accounts for about 10% of the state’s 12 million registered voters, said final results would not be available until tomorrow.
Until then, it may not be totally clear whether Obama won the state, which he carried in 2008.
At one church in Miami, hundreds of voters were still in line when polls were due to close at 7pm.
“I believe that Obama is doing a good job and he’s going to do a better job,” said Michele Adriaanse, 59, who arrived to vote at 6.30pm and finally cast her ballot shortly before midnight.
“If we don’t give him the chance, things will go back to how they were,” she added.
Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Penelope Townsley told reporters the delay was due to “an extremely high volume of absentee ballots” and because long lines forced some precincts to remain open hours after their official closing time.
Florida accounts for 29 of the 270 votes in the electoral college a candidate needs to win the presidency. That is more than any other swing state and by many accounts, the fourth-largest state was a must-win for Romney.
Most recent polls had given Romney an edge over the incumbent in Florida, where the economic recovery has been slower than in other states and long-term unemployment has reached record highs.
But registered Democrats out-number registered Republicans in Florida by about 5 percentage points and Romney faced multiple headwinds in the state.