Florida Governor Rick Scott has filed three lawsuits against county officials involved in the recount of ballots as a Palm Beach County administrator says they probably won’t make the recount deadlines.
Scott’s campaign filed the suits over his virtual dead-heat race for the Senate against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson.
One lawsuit is aimed at Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Buchner.
Bucher said that she doesn’t believe her department will be able to meet the state’s Thursday deadline to complete the recount, throwing into question what would happen to votes there.
She blamed the issue on aging equipment.
Florida Governor Rick Scott has filed three lawsuits against county officials involved in the recount of ballots as a Palm Beach County official says they probably won’t make the recount deadlines
One lawsuit is aimed at Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Buchner (pictured in blue). Bucher said that she doesn’t believe her department will be able to meet the state’s Thursday deadline to complete the recount
Scott filed a separate lawsuit late on Saturday against Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes (left). Snipes is being accused by Scott of counting ballots that were submitted after the Saturday noon deadline
Scott’s lawsuit on Sunday targeted the election supervisors in Democratic-leaning Broward and Palm Beach counties.
It asked a judge to issue an emergency injunction for the county sheriffs and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to seize all voting machines, tallying devices and ballots when they are not being used until the end the end of the recount and any related litigation is over.
According to Florida law, if a county does not submit their results by the deadline, the results on file at the time take their place.
Scott filed a separate lawsuit late on Saturday against Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes.
Snipes is being accused by Scott of counting ballots that were submitted after the Saturday noon deadline, according to CNN.
Scott’s lawsuit is asking the judge to order that any ballots counted after noon on Saturday be disregarded, saying that to include them would break state law.
‘The Broward and Palm Beach County Supervisors of Elections has already demonstrated a blatant disregard for Florida’s elections laws, making it more important than ever that we continue to do everything possible to prevent fraud and ensure this recount is operated responsibly,’ Chris Hartline, a spokesman for Scott’s campaign, said in a statement.
An automatic recount was triggered after Tuesday’s election result showed Scott leading by just a tiny margin. In the Senate race, Scott’s lead over Nelson (left) is 0.14 percentage points
Democrat protesters confront pro-Republican protesters outside the Broward County Supervisor Elections office
Protesters demonstrate outside the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office
The lawsuits also request both supervisors preserve all ballots and records related to the 2018 election.
An automatic recount was triggered after Tuesday’s election result showed Scott leading by just a tiny margin.
In the Senate race, Scott’s lead over Nelson is 0.14 percentage points.
State law requires a machine recount in races where the margin is less than 0.5 percentage points.
Once completed, if the differences in any of the races are 0.25 percentage points or below, a hand recount will be ordered.
Nelson blasted Scott on Sunday over the lawsuits, saying the legal actions were designed ‘to stop every legal vote from being counted’.
‘He’s doing this for the same reason he’s been making false and panicked claims about voter fraud – he’s worried that when all the votes are counted he’ll lose this election,’ Nelson said in a statement.
‘We will not allow him to undermine the democratic process and will use every legal tool available to protect the rights of Florida voters.’
After some early bumps, more than half of Florida’s 67 counties began recounting votes Sunday in the razor-thin Senate and gubernatorial races, bringing back memories of the 2000 presidential fiasco.
Republican protesters call for the resignation of Snipes during a protest outside her offices in Lauderhill on Sunday
Supporters of President Donald Trump are seen above chanting outside the offices on Sunday
The Republican Party attacked Snipes, accusing her of ‘incompetence and gross mismanagement’ following the delay, which was resolved within two hours. Pro-Republican demonstrators are seen above in Lauderhill on Sunday
Broward Supervisor of Elections Joe D’Alesandro (right) shows voting materials to campaign representatives on Sunday in Lauderhill
In Democratic-leaning Broward County, the scheduled start of the recount was delayed Sunday because of a problem with one of the tabulation machines.
The Republican Party attacked Snipes, accusing her of ‘incompetence and gross mismanagement’ following the delay, which was resolved within two hours.
The county, the state’s second-most populous, is emerging as the epicenter of controversy in the recount.
Broward officials said they mistakenly counted 22 absentee ballots that had been rejected, mostly because the signature on the return envelope did not match the one on file.
‘#BrowardElections office admits the vote count they submitted to state includes 22 illegal votes,’ Florida GOP Senator Marco Rubio wrote on Twitter Saturday.
‘We know about these 22 because they got caught breaking law in reviewing 202 ballots. How can anyone trust more illegal votes aren’t in their final count?’
It is a problem that appears impossible to fix because the ballots were mixed in with 205 legal ballots.
Snipes said it would be unfair to throw out all the ballots.
The recount in most other major population centers, including Miami-Dade and Pinellas and Hillsborough counties in the Tampa Bay area, was ongoing without incident on Sunday.
Pro-Republican protesters are seen above, one of whom is dressed as Hillary Clinton, Sunday in Lauderhill
The reviews are an unprecedented step in Florida, a state that’s notorious for election results decided by the thinnest of margins
State officials said they weren’t aware of any other time either a race for governor or US Senate in Florida required a recount, let alone both in the same election
Smaller counties are expected to begin their reviews Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.
All counties face a Thursday afternoon deadline to complete the recount.
The reviews are an unprecedented step in Florida, a state that’s notorious for election results decided by the thinnest of margins.
State officials said they weren’t aware of any other time either a race for governor or US Senate in Florida required a recount, let alone both in the same election.
Unofficial results show that Republican former Rep. Ron DeSantis led Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by 0.41 percentage points in the election for governor.
As the recount unfolded, Republicans urged their Democratic opponents to give up and allow the state to move on.
Scott said Sunday that Nelson wants fraudulent ballots and those cast by noncitizens to count, pointing to a Nelson lawyer objecting to Palm Beach County’s rejection of one provisional ballot because it was cast by a noncitizen.
‘He is trying to commit fraud to win this election,’ Scott told Fox News.
‘Bill Nelson’s a sore loser. He’s been in politics way too long.’
Nelson’s campaign issued a statement Sunday saying their lawyer wasn’t authorized to object to the ballot’s rejection as ‘Non-citizens cannot vote in US elections.’
Gillum and Nelson have argued each vote should be counted and the process allowed to take its course.
Both the state elections division, which Scott runs, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have said they have found no evidence of voter fraud.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (left) withdrew his concession on Saturday. He trails former Rep Ron DeSantis (right) by 0.41 percentage points in the election for governor
That didn’t stop protests outside Snipes’ office, where a crowd of mostly Republicans gathered Sunday, holding signs, listening to country music and occasionally chanting ‘lock her up,’ referring to Snipes.
A massive Trump 2020 flag flew over the parking lot and many members of a Bikers For Trump group wore matching shirts and carried flags, mingling among a crowd that included a protester wearing a Hillary Clinton mask.
Registered independent Russell Liddick, a 38-year-old retail worker from Pompano Beach carried a sign reading, ‘I’m not here for Trump! I’m here for fair elections! Fire Snipes!’
He said the office’s problems ‘don’t make me feel very much like my vote counted.’
Florida is also conducting a recount in a third statewide race.
Democrat Nikki Fried had a 0.07 percentage point lead over Republican state Rep. Matt Caldwell in the race for agriculture commissioner, one of Florida’s three Cabinet seats.
From a distant glance, the recounts might dredge up memories of the 2000 presidential recount, when it took more than five weeks for Florida to declare George W. Bush the victor over Vice President Al Gore by 537 votes, thus giving Bush the presidency.
But much has changed since then. In 2000, each county had its own voting system.
Many used punch cards – voters poked out chads, leaving tiny holes in their ballots representing their candidates.
Some voters, however, didn’t fully punch out the presidential chad or gave it just a little push.
Those hanging and dimpled chads had to be examined by the canvassing boards, a lengthy, tiresome and often subjective process that became fodder for late-night comedians.
Now the state requires that all Florida counties use ballots where voters use a pen to mark their candidate’s name, much like a student does when taking a multiple-choice test.
From a distant glance, the recounts might dredge up memories of the 2000 presidential recount, when it took more than five weeks for Florida to declare George W. Bush the victor over Vice President Al Gore (above) by 537 votes, thus giving Bush the presidency
It also now clearly mandates how the recount will proceed.
Those ballots are now being run through scanning machines in each county for a second time under the watchful eye of representatives of both parties and the campaigns.
Any ballot that cannot be read for any of the recounted races will be put aside.
If a race’s statewide margin falls below 0.25 percentage points after the machine count, the state will order a manual recount in each county.
At that point, only the rejected ballots for that race will be examined by counting teams to determine if the voters’ intentions were obvious.
For example, some voters circle the candidate’s name instead of filling in the ballot properly and some cross out their vote and then mark another candidate.
If either side objects to a counting team’s decision or the team can’t make one, the ballot will be forwarded to the county’s canvassing board, with the three members voting on the final decision.
The members are usually the county supervisor of elections, a judge and the chair of the county commissioners.