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Miami-Dade's absentee-ballot count concludes, with three other Florida counties still going

The absentee ballot count is mercifully over.

Miami-Dade elections workers counted a final batch of 500 absentees Thursday morning, after pulling an all-nighter.

Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Penelope Townsley fended off criticism Thursday that the county's election was less than perfect, when she announced the completion of the county's absentee ballot count about 40 hours after the polls closed on Election Day.

"Generally, I think Miami-Dade County conducted a very good election," Townsley told reporters at the elections office in Doral, as she deflected questions about long lines and voting delays at the polls. "Am I embarrassed or disappointed by some of the things that happened? Absolutely. But I have to focus on simply getting it right."

The last-minute surge of some 54,000 absentees cast up until the closing of the polls on Election Day caused an extraordinary delay in tabulating the final results for Miami-Dade's vote.

Elections workers counted about 31,750 absentee votes over the past two days.

The three other big Florida counties -- Broward, Palm Beach and Duval -- are still tabulating their absentees.

Hanging in the balance: the official outcome of the presidential race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, along with several local elections.

Townsley said the county's total election results -- including provisional ballots that still must be counted -- will be completed by Friday.