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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida’s gubernatorial race is in a virtual deadlock and some experts say it’s possible the race could go to a recount if it ends in a stalemate.

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According to CBSMiami news partner The Miami Herald, a machine recount of all votes cast is required when the margin between two candidates is half of a percentage point or less. That equates to 30,000 votes with a turnout of six million.

Four years ago, Scott defeated Democrat Alex Sink by 61,550 votes out of 5.4 million cast or 1.2 percent. It was so close the winner wasn’t known until the next morning, but a recount wasn’t needed.

A recount must be ordered by Secretary of State Ken Detzner, a Scott appointee.

The first step would be  a machine recount which is a retabulation of ballots using automated machines to double-check the totals. But if that closes the gap between the candidates to a quarter of a percentage point or less, a manual recount would take place of all undervotes and overvotes, if the number of votes in dispute is large enough to alter the result.

An undervote occurs when a voter casts no vote in a race, and an overvote occurs when a voter chooses more than one candidate. The number of those ballots has declined since Florida abandoned punch-card ballots and their hanging chads after the 2000 debacle and switched first to touch-screen machines and later to optical scan paper ballots.

The outcome also could be affected by tens of thousands of disputed votes cast by mail, overseas or provisionally and counted separately in Florida’s 67 counties. Every county has a three-member canvassing board with the discretion to count or reject votes that have questionable signatures on absentee ballot envelopes.

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If it’s too close to call, the focus is likely to be on the three largest counties: Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.

A candidate can contest an election on four grounds, including ineligibility of the winning candidate to hold office; evidence of illegal votes or legal votes that weren’t counted; proof that an election official was bribed; or misconduct, fraud or corruption by a canvassing board member.

With the stakes so high, neither candidate is likely to concede Tuesday night if the results are close.

The final results must be certified by 9a.m. Tuesday, Nov.18.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)


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