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Expected Florida recount puts presidential race in limbo

Updated:

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Florida election officials prepared for a recount in their stunningly close election for president after the margin between George W. Bush and Al Gore shrank through the night.

At last count, the margin between them was as many as 2,500 with one precinct outstanding, depending on the vote source.

Florida election law requires a vote recount if the margin of difference is less than one half of one percent. Several Florida counties still have absentee ballots yet to count and elections officials expect several thousand votes from overseas. Elections officials weren't sure how long it would take this time, but said it took 10 days in 1996 to count overseas absentee ballots.

Vice President Al Gore conceded defeat and then called back to retract the concession in the early morning hours. His campaign chairman, William Daley, later appeared before Gore supporters in Nashville, Tenn., to say the Gore campaign would request a recount.

``This race is simply too close to call and until the recount is concluded and the results of Florida become official our campaign continues,'' Daley said.

Florida had to recount the extremely close vote in the 1988 Senate race between Reps. Connie Mack, a Republican, and Buddy MacKay, a Democrat. In that race, MacKay did not concede defeat until eight days later, after the recount had been completed.

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