Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican candidate for Senate, has filed lawsuits against Broward County and Palm Beach County election supervisors, accusing them of trying to rob him of election victory with heaps of new ballots.
Scott’s advantage over his Democratic opponent, Bill Nelson, has dwindled to just over 15,000 votes as of Thursday evening, a far cry from a comfortable lead of 57,000 votes projected for him as the polls closed on Tuesday evening.
With the recount odds growing every minute, Scott blamed Florida election officials in two Democratic-leaning counties for tampering with the vote by counting indiscernible ballots in favor of Democrats, and other transgressions.
In the first lawsuit, filed by Scott jointly with the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) against Broward County, the sitting governor alleges that the county’s Supervisor of Elections, Brenda Snipes, violated the law because she was “unwilling to disclose records revealing how many electors voted, how many ballots have been canvassed, and how many ballots remain to be canvassed.”
Scott claims that a lack of clarity on the matter “raises substantial concerns about the validity of the election process.”
Snipes has already found herself in hot water for negligent handling of ballots in the past. Earlier this year, a judge ruled that Snipes destroyed ballots too early after the 2016 congressional primaries. The decision stems from a lawsuit of Tim Canova, who lost to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the time and wanted to see ballots but was refused by Snipes.
The Republican candidate also tore into Susan Bucher, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections, alleging that she single-handedly determined voter intent on damaged absentee ballots instead of handing them over to the county’s canvassing board. Bucher, Scott alleges, also disallowed his representatives from overseeing the process.
Speaking to the media, Scott alleged that the phenomenon of his rapidly vanishing advantage is a direct consequence of the shady dealings of Broward County and Palm Beach County officials. He noted, in particular, that a number of ballots cast on the day of the election continues to grow more than 48 hours since the polls closed, which is odd in itself.
“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,” he said.
Florida’s Republican Senator Marco Rubio, meanwhile, has been sounding the alarm on Twitter, accusing the supervisors of trying to snatch the elections from Republicans last-minute.
“Broward election supervisors ongoing violation of #Florida law requiring timely reporting isn’t just annoying incompetence. It has opened the door for lawyers to come here & try to steal a seat in the U.S. Senate & Florida Cabinet,” he tweeted.
Rubio posted a photo of what appeared to be multiple boxes with additional ballots waiting to be counted, alleging that Florida officials have flouted the law by not reporting them within half an hour after the polls closed.
Rubio also cited a report in South Florida Sun-Sentinel, according to which some 205 damaged provisional ballots, which should have been turned over to the canvassing board, were approved and counted by Broward County officials.
US President Donald Trump has weighed in on the controversy, tweeting that law enforcement has been looking into a “big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in #Broward and Palm Beach.”
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