President Barack Obama and the rest of the country did not have to wait on Florida to find out the winner of the 2012 election, thanks to victories in all but one of the designated toss-up states. (Source: CNN)
Lines of Florida voters wrapped around buildings and city blocks on Election Day, with some waiting hours to fill out a ballot. (Source: CNN)
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(RNN) – The state of Florida has finished its tally, and its 29 electoral votes have been awarded to President Barack Obama. Not that it mattered.
The Associated Press reported Obama took 50 percent of the popular vote, compared to 49.1 percent for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, making it slightly above the half-percent or less margin that would require a recount. About 74,000 votes separated the two.
There may still be a small amount of overseas and military ballots, which have to be in by Nov. 16, according to the AP. However, they do not affect whether there would be a recount.
While Florida's count officially closes the book on the 2012 presidential race, Obama did not need to carry the state after already reaching the 270 electoral votes needed to be re-elected.
The final count stands at 332 for Obama to 206 for Romney. The president carried eight of the nine "swing states" the campaigns battled for, winning Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, Virginia and Wisconsin along with the Sunshine State.
Romney only took North Carolina in addition to the states believed to be solid red.
Long lines of people waiting to vote after polling places were scheduled to close, along with late absentee ballots, were blamed for the slowed returns in Florida. All 49 of the other states had been called for one of the candidates by early Wednesday.
The large turnout of Floridians on Election Day came despite early voting in the state, which also saw people waiting for hours to make their choice. Gov. Rick Scott cut the number of early voting days from 14 to eight in 2011.
Scott had refused to extend voting past Saturday, but polling places in some counties were allowed to stay open or provide and accept absentee ballots. Waits in Miami-Dade reached up to seven hours, according to reports.
Florida's 29 electoral votes were the biggest prize among the toss-up states going into Election Day.
The state earned a dubious reputation for its role in national politics in 2000, when it and its then-25 electoral votes decided the presidential race for George W. Bush. The final tally showed a Bush with a mere 537 votes more than Al Gore, out of more than 6 million cast.
Among other issues were the "butterfly ballots" used in Palm Beach County. The odd format, with candidates listed on both sides, may have caused thousands of to voters to accidentally select the Reform Party's Pat Buchanan instead of Gore.
Several news outlets also mistakenly called the state for Gore early into the ballot count before retracting and naming it "too close to call."
Lawsuits and a recount ensued with the race ending so close, leaving the result in question for a month. On Dec. 12, 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 to stop the hand recount, effectively awarding the state and the election to Bush.
Florida voting has gone smoother in the last two presidential elections. Bush won again in 2004 by about five percent, and Obama turned the state blue in 2008 with 51 percent of the vote.
Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.
Saturday, November 10 2012 1:48 PM EST2012-11-10 18:48:37 GMT
(RNN) – With the majority of ballots counted and the question of who will be the next president put to rest, only Florida remains undecided as vote tallies continued into Wednesday. With 97 percent reported,More >>
The state of Florida has finished its tally, and its 29 electoral votes went to President Barack Obama. Not that it mattered. More >>
Wednesday, November 7 2012 9:48 AM EST2012-11-07 14:48:58 GMT
(RNN) – Obama took on a variety of issues during his first term in the Oval Office, and he pledged to continue his plan of economic recovery in the next four years. His campaign rode the theme of "Change"More >>
"This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray the president will be successful in guiding our nation," said Mitt Romney in his concession speech.More >>