Florida Governor and Senator elect Rick Scott, unleashed lawsuits against a Broward County elections supervisor and Palm Beach County while accusing Democrats of trying to steal the election.
Both the senate seat Scott thought was his on Tuesday night, and the Governor’s spot that looked all but won by Republican Ron DeSantis are both now within the margin of error for a recount.
Scott thought he won over the Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson, however, during a press conference Thursday night, after his Senate campaign sued Broward County elections supervisor to turn over records regarding how ballots are being counted, Scott said ‘The people of Florida deserve fairness and transparency, and the supervisors are failing to give it to us.’
‘Late Tuesday night, our win was projected to be around 57,000 votes,’ Scott told reporters.
Senator elect Rick Scott sued Broward County election officials and Palm Beach County Thursday night alleging there could be ‘rampant fraud’ in the counties ballot-counting process
‘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.’
He continued: ‘On election night, Broward County said there were 634,000 votes cast. At 1am today, there were 695,700 ballots cast on election day. At 2.30pm 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.
‘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,’ Scott said.
During the press conference, Scott declared there could be ‘rampant fraud’ in the counties ballot-counting process.
Earlier Thursday Scott told Fox News: ‘No rag tag group of liberal activists or lawyers from D.C. will be allowed to steal this election from the voters in the state of Florida.’
Meanwhile, a teacher in a Broward County school found a container labeled ‘Provisional Ballot Box’ in a storage area of her elementary school on Thursday.
Lakeisha Williams, of Broward County, said she found the box Thursday at Miramar Elementary School.
It was apparently left behind by election workers.
‘I went into the area that we use for storage and saw it in there,’ Williams told the New York Post.
Williams said she did not touch or look inside the box. Instead, she told the school’s principal and they decided to contact a local state representative.
‘I don’t know where it is now,’ Williams said, noting that all provisional ballots needed to be received by county officials before 5 p.m. Thursday.
Votes are still being counted in the Sunshine State.
Scott’s campaign filed the suits along with the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Meanwhile, Democrat Andrew Gillum had conceded to DeSantis late Tuesday, but as votes were still being counted he was only down 38,000 votes, which is in the margin of error for a machine recount.
Sen. Bill Nelson’s re-election bid is likely headed to a hand recount given that the incumbent Democrat now trails Florida Gov. Rick Scott by 17,000 votes, within the .25% margin required for a hand recount. Nelson’s campaign aides believe he will emerge victorious once all the ballots are counted.
And on the governor’s side, Democrat Andrew Gillum — after conceding the race on Tuesday evening — has grown more supportive of a recount of late, in part because his deficit to Republican Ron DeSantis is down to 38,000 votes, within the .5% needed for a machine recount. Campaign aides, though, remain clear eyed about the the long odds that Gillum can make up that deficit.
Recounts, which have not officially been authorized in either race, put the outcome of two of the most closely watched races of 2018 on hold, with Democrats hoping for a miracle that could get both Gillum, a candidate who garnered considerable attention in his campaign against DeSantis, and Nelson, an incumbent who Democrats had thought would win his seat going into Tuesday night, over the finish line with a win.
‘On Tuesday night, the Gillum for Governor campaign operated with the best information available about the number of outstanding ballots left to count. Since that time, it has become clear there are many more uncounted ballots than was originally reported,’ Gillum’s communications director Johanna Cervone said in a statement. ‘Mayor Gillum started his campaign for the people, and we are committed to ensuring every single vote in Florida is counted.’
Gov. Rick Scott’s Senate campaign is suing the Broward County elections supervisor to turn over records regarding how ballots are being counted.
Scott’s campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee filed a lawsuit late Thursday demanding that Broward Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes be ordered to turn over several records detailing the counting and collection of ballots cast in Tuesday’s election. They are seeking an emergency hearing as the votes must be certified by noon Saturday.
The lawsuit was filed about the same time Scott ordered state law enforcement officials to investigate the Broward and Palm Beach voting operation.
Scott has a narrow lead over incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and the race may be headed to a recount. His lead narrowed as final ballots in heavily Democratic Broward and Palm Beach counties were counted Wednesday and Thursday.
Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum gives his concession speech as he is joined on stage by his wife R. Jai Gillum, right, and running mate Chris King and his wife Kristen Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Tallahassee, Fla. Gillum lost the Florida governor’s race to Republican Ron DeSantis. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)
No one answered at Snipes’ office late Thursday. Nelson campaign spokesman Dan McLaughlin issued a statement saying that all votes should be counted accurately and that Scott’s action ‘appears to be politically motivated and borne out of desperation.’
Florida Gov. Rick Scott is accusing election officials in two counties of trying to thwart the will of the voters, as recounts seem likely for several statewide races.
Scott said at a news conference Thursday night that he is ordering the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate elections offices in Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Under Florida law, a recount is mandatory if the winning candidate’s margin is less than 0.5 percentage points.
Scott, a Republican, is running for U.S. Senate and held a 0.21 percentage lead over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson on Thursday afternoon. Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis held a 0.47 percentage point lead over Democrat Andrew Gillum. Candidates for the Florida Cabinet position of agriculture commissioner where separated by less than 500 votes out of more than 8 million cast.
The Associated Press is closely monitoring the race for governor in Florida, where election officials continue to count absentee ballots.
AP on Tuesday called the election for Republican Ron DeSantis over Democrat Andrew Gillum. DeSantis holds a lead of 38,613 votes out of more than 8.2 million ballots counted – a margin of 0.47 percentage points.
Under Florida law, a recount is mandatory if the margin of the winning candidate is less than 0.5 percentage points when the first unofficial count is verified Saturday by Florida’s secretary of state.
Should that count show DeSantis with a margin of less than 0.5 percentage points, triggering a recount, AP will retract its call for DeSantis. It is AP policy not to call a race that is facing a recount.
If the race proceeds to a recount, no new call will be made until the recount is complete and the results of the election are certified by Florida officials.
Democrat Andrew Gillum’s campaign now says it’s prepared for a possible recount in the Florida governor race that he conceded to Republican Ron DeSantis on Tuesday night.
In a statement Thursday, Gillum’s campaign says it underestimated the ballots that still needed to be counted when he conceded.
The campaign says it’s monitoring the situation and preparing for a possible state-mandated recount.
Florida law requires a recount in races in which the winning margin is 0.5 percent or less, unless the trailing candidate says in writing that he or she doesn’t want a recount. Canvassing boards conduct the recount by running ballots through vote tabulation machines.
As of Wednesday morning, DeSantis led Gillum by 43,039 votes out of nearly 8.2 million cast, or a difference of 0.526 of a percentage point.
Republican Florida Governor-elect Ron DeSantis, center, waves to the supporters with his wife, Casey, left, and Republican Lt. Governor-elect Jeanette Nunez, third right, after thanking the crowd Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Orlando, Fla. DeSantis defeated Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum. (Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Times via AP)