As Florida Senate Race Tightens, Republican Senate Candidate Just Filed Two Lawsuits to Halt the Counting of Ballots in Democratic Counties
Outgoing Florida Governor and Senate candidate Rick Scott (R) has filed lawsuits in two heavily Democratic counties accusing Democrats of trying to "steal" the election by counting all the votes that were cast on Tuesday.
"In their lawsuit against Broward County, Scott and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) allege that officials there are hiding critical information about the number of votes cast and counted," Fox News reported on Friday. "And in a parallel suit against Palm Beach County, Scott and the NRSC charge that the election supervisor there illegally used her own judgment to determine voter intent when reviewing damaged or incorrectly filled-out absentee ballots, while refusing to allow impartial witnesses to monitor the process."
In the Broward County suit, Scott alleges Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes was in violation of the Florida Constitution and the Florida Public Records Act. Snipes, the filing states, was "unwilling to disclose records revealing how many electors voted, how many ballots have been canvassed, and how many ballots remain to be canvassed," and charges that the uncertainty "raises substantial concerns about the validity of the election process."
The suit demands an emergency hearing and that Snipes turn over ballot information.
Snipes has blamed the confusion and delays on the sheer volume of votes.
“I think we had over 58 percent of our voters voted, and each voter received a ballot package of either five or six pages,” said Snipes on Thurdsay. “It’s volume that causes this.”
The second suit, filed against Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher, claims election officials refused oversight on the counting of damaged absentee ballots.
Scott's case asks for an injunction "requiring Bucher to make and compare duplicate copies of all damaged absentee ballots in the presence of Scott's representatives," Fox found, "and to allow the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board to determine voters' intent when counting those ballots."
The crux of the Palm Beach fiasco has to do with voters failing to understand how to properly fill out their ballots.
"Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher told Fox News that Palm Beach is still counting about 2,000 mail-in ballots where voters circled or highlighted (by drawing an arrow pointing at the candidate’s name) their choice, instead of filling in the appropriate bubbles."
Ballots are being reviewed to determine voter intent.
As of Thursday afternoon, incumbent Senator Bill Nelson (D) trailed outgoing governor Rick Scott (R) by only 0.21 percent, or a little more than 17,000 votes. That's a small enough margin to trigger a recount, and Scott is in full-blown panic mode.
Without evidence, Scott cited "rampant fraud" and declared that he "will not stand idly by while unethical liberals try to steal an election."
Scott hinted to reporters on Thursday that he believes Democrats are trying to rig the election against him by ensuring all the votes were counted.
"Late Tuesday night, our win was projected to be around 57,000 votes," Scott said. "By Wednesday morning, that lead dropped to 38,000. By Wednesday evening, it was around 30,000. This morning, it was around 21,000. Now, it is 15,000."
Scott received some pretty harsh backlash for the suits. It sure looks like Scott doesn't want all votes cast to be counted.
Serious question re Rick Scott presser. If the point was not to act as candidate Scott explaining his lawsuit, but… https://t.co/uAGCujbXXt— David Jolly (@David Jolly)1541770419.0
A lawsuit to stop votes from being counted. Rick Scott doesn't want your vote to count. He belongs in prison, not t… https://t.co/l9cCO3Mw3X— Marcus H. Johnson (@Marcus H. Johnson)1541732807.0
Rick Scott just attacked me as a lawyer from Washington DC as he announced a lawsuit literally in the name of the n… https://t.co/2UM90Stgti— Marc E. Elias (@Marc E. Elias)1541727799.0
Gov. Rick Scott & the NRSC are filing a public records lawsuit against Broward election supervisor Brenda Snipes fo… https://t.co/Xr8kjF09Xk— Marc Caputo (@Marc Caputo)1541726712.0
President Donald Trump on Thursday parroted Scott's accusations of a "big corruption scandal" in Broward and Palm Beach Counties, insisting that the state "voted for Rick Scott."
"Law Enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in
#Broward and Palm Beach," Trump charged, without offering any proof. "Florida voted for Rick Scott!"
Law Enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in #Broward and Pal… https://t.co/I402nKjfb1— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1541731102.0
Trump's baseless tweet drew the ire of citizens concerned over the integrity of state elections, except it's the Republicans drawing the most skepticism.
@realDonaldTrump For once, you’re right. There WAS election fraud in Florida. Also in Georgia and Texas. Recounting… https://t.co/gLEzp3ZaQQ— J📎🌹 (@J📎🌹)1541773032.0
@CalicoCruiser @realDonaldTrump And keep counting the votes in AZ. GOP sued yesterday to stop counting votes before… https://t.co/NUSBvNtCSL— Tiny Montgomery🌊🌊🌊 (@Tiny Montgomery🌊🌊🌊)1541773469.0
@Mike281mike @realDonaldTrump I'm not sure I understand how known criminals are allowed to run for office? For real?— Sandra Kenny-Veech (@Sandra Kenny-Veech)1541773786.0
@Shes_so_Sandi @Mike281mike @realDonaldTrump NY district also reelected someone under indictment.— YossarianGolgi (@YossarianGolgi)1541774520.0
@DeanObeidallah @realDonaldTrump They don't like Native Americans either.— Gwendolyn J Hughes (@Gwendolyn J Hughes)1541774631.0
Any margin of less than 0.5 percent triggers an automatic recount, according to Florida election law.
Scott also expressed bewilderment at why Palm Beach and Broward Counties - yeah, those counties that caused such a stir in 2000 - seemed to be unable to determine how many people had voted.
"On election night, Broward County said there were 634,000 votes cast," Scott said. "At 1 a.m. today, there were 695,700 ballots cast on election day. At 2:30 p.m. today, the number was up to 707,223 ballots cast on Election Day. And we just learned, that the number has increased to 712,840 ballots cast on Election Day. In Palm Beach County, there are 15,000 new votes found since election night."
Scott continued: "So, it has been over 48 hours since the polls closed and Broward and Palm Beach Counties are still finding and counting ballots – and the Supervisors – Brenda Snipes and Susan Bucher – cannot seem to say how many ballots still exist or where these ballots came from, or where they have been."
On Thursday evening, Scott again brandished liberals in his state as would-be election thieves.
"No ragtag group of liberal activists or lawyers from D.C. will be allowed to steal this election from the voters in the state of Florida," Scott groaned outside the governor's mansion.
Speaking to Sean Hannity later that night, Scott again came to the terrifying conclusion that Democrats intend on counting all the votes, some of which, he hinted, may not be real.
"We don't know how many votes they're gonna come up with," Scott griped. "But it appears they're going to try to come up with as many votes as it takes to win this election. ... We're gonna fight this, and we're gonna win."
Scott's conspiracy theory about Democrats wanting to count votes was also championed by Florida's other U.S. Senator, Marcio Rubio (R).
Rubio has posted a flurry of panicky tweets since Tuesday.
Apparently #BrowardCounty elections left behind a box labeled “Provisional Ballots” at a local elementary school th… https://t.co/5BsXIZbPqt— Marco Rubio (@Marco Rubio)1541719633.0
Every vote legally cast should be counted. That’s the law Have no problem with recounts. That’s the law. But last… https://t.co/X0EQWwwLrJ— Marco Rubio (@Marco Rubio)1541733877.0
Rubio doubled-down on Friday morning.
Under #Florida law county must upload by 7 p.m. day BEFORE election ALL early votes canvassed & tabulated by end of… https://t.co/xpNbj8SHeO— Marco Rubio (@Marco Rubio)1541769071.0
Early Voting in #BrowardCounty ended 108 hours ago. Every other county,including neighboring Miami-Dade (which had… https://t.co/mvSDq3meFM— Marco Rubio (@Marco Rubio)1541769699.0
How can anyone have confidence that the #BrowardCounty election supervisor will be fair when last night she made cl… https://t.co/2U48hNQsxq— Marco Rubio (@Marco Rubio)1541772425.0
Not very comforting to #Florida voters that #BrowardCounty supervisor,in whose hands may rest outcome of Senate & c… https://t.co/8f4uOIm6zn— Marco Rubio (@Marco Rubio)1541773752.0
Once the initial vote totals are submitted on Saturday, a machine recount must be completed by 3 P.M. on 11/15. If the margin is within 0.25 percent, a manual recount will take place. “In those races of what are known as undervotes and overvotes; the recounts would have to be completed by Nov. 18,” the New York Times reported Thursday.