Scott files lawsuit over Florida Senate vote as recount odds grow

Scott files lawsuit over Florida Senate vote as recount odds grow
Florida midterm election LEGAL ACTION demanded as Republican warns of FRAUD
Florida Governor and Senate elect Rick Scott, unleashed lawsuits against Broward County 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 Governors spot that looked all but won by Republican Ron DeSantis are both now within the margin of error for a recount.   

The additional ballots counted over the past two days in Broward and Palm Beach have chopped Scotts statewide lead over Nelson by more than half to about 15,000 votes out of more than 8.1 million cast. The additional votes, identified by the county offices as absentee and early in-person votes, also narrowed Republican Ron DeSantis more than 80,000-vote lead in the Florida governors race over Democrat Andrew Gillum to about 36,000.

Scott believed he won over the Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson, however, during a press conference Thursday night, after his Senate campaign sued Broward County and Palm Beach County elections officials 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.

Scott accused election officials in Broward and Palm Beach counties, two Democratic strongholds, of “rampant fraud” in a vote counting process that has continued two days after the election and sharply narrowed GOP leads in statewide races, even flipping the state agriculture commission race from a Republican to Democratic lead of more than 2,000 votes on Thursday.

The lawsuit was filed about the same time Scott ordered state law enforcement officials to investigate the Broward and Palm Beach voting operation.  

“Every day since the election, the left-wing activists in Broward County have been coming out with more and more ballots out of nowhere,” Scott said. “We all know what is going on. Everyone in Florida knows exactly what is happening. Their goal is to keep mysteriously finding more votes until the election turns out the way they want it.

A spokesperson for Nelson bristled at Scotts legal maneuvering, telling CNN The goal here is to see that all the votes in Florida are counted and counted accurately. Rick Scotts action appears to be politically motivated and borne out of desperation. 

Video: Rick Scott alleges rampant fraud in Florida

Florida recount: why Democrats think they can still win Florida

Senator elect Rick Scott sued Broward County and Palm Beach County election officials Thursday night alleging there could be rampant fraud in the counties ballot-counting process

In a recount, the latter deadline could change. For now, campaigns are in a mad dash to contact voters and verify their ballots. This is a struggle — in past elections, fewer than half of cast provisional ballots actually get counted. But based on where provisional ballots have been cast so far, it looks like if they are counted, theyd overwhelmingly go toward Democrats. Overseas and military ballots still havent fully come in for this election, and those typically strengthen Republicans leads.

Video: Turnout was key to Florida election results

As ballots were still being counted in Palm Beach and Broward counties, the gap closed between Rick Scott and Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson (pictured) 

With Results Uncertain in Floridas Governor and Senate Elections, the State Faces Not One, but Two Recounts

On Thursday night, President Trump tweeeted, without evidence, that “law enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in #Broward and Palm Beach. Florida voted for Rick Scott!” Both counties are Democratic strongholds.

Once again, a pivotal race in Florida appears set to come to a dramatic conclusion days after an election. The Senate contest will decide by how many seats the GOP can extend its majority, after the party appeared to lock up control of the chamber in Tuesdays elections. The gubernatorial race will determine the path of the countrys third most populous state.

If the gap between candidates is half a percentage point or less, the state is mandated to conduct a machine recount. Heres a timeline of the recount process, according to the Florida secretary of state.

Both of Floridas closely watched statewide races remain close as final results come in. The Senate race between incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott is too close to call, according to NBC News. Scotts lead of 0.2 percentage point is within the 0.5 percentage point threshold that triggers a mandatory recount in the state.

Each Florida county has a canvassing board which oversees elections in that county. The first unofficial returns from county canvassing boards are due to the secretary of state and Division of Elections by Saturday, Nov. 10. If the candidates are within half a percentage point or less on that date, the state is mandated to conduct a machine recount. As of Thursday, the margins between Scott and Nelson and between DeSantis and Gillum are each under half a percentage point.

Meanwhile, Republican Ron DeSantis leads Democrat Andrew Gillum by about 0.5 percentage point in the widely followed gubernatorial race. While the ending margin could fall into recount territory, the Democratic Tallahassee mayor has already conceded to the former GOP representative. NBC News declared DeSantis the apparent winner.

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In a machine recount, all completed ballots are re-fed through ballot-counting machines to try to confirm the original, unofficial counts.

Recounts, runoffs loom over high-profile elections in Florida, Georgia

The machines must first be re-tested and re-calibrated to read and separate ballots with apparent over-votes, that is, the ballots in which the machines read that the voter may have selected more than one candidate, and undervotes, in which the machine does not register a vote on the ballot.

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Video: Three big races in Florida could trigger recount

The testing of the machines has to be done in public. Ballots with apparent under- or over-votes are segregated, or “outstacked,” and placed in sealed containers. These outstacked ballots would be the ones critical in a manual recount.

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Video: Three big races in Florida could trigger recount

The second unofficial returns, which are the results of a machine recount, must be presented by Nov. 15. If the candidates are within one-quarter of one percentage point, the secretary of state must order a manual recount.

Rubio also cannot explain what the alternative would be to counting the ballots in Broward, if he — in stark contrast to those mischevious Democrats — does want to “make sure every vote is counted.” He is all but saying the election will only be legitimate if the tally is stopped right now and Republicans are declared the winners, no matter how many peoples votes are not counted. Which, incidentally, would be illegal, since state law makes clear that any election where the results are within 0.5 percent must have a recount.

The manual recount is more complicated and time-consuming, as it involves counting each of the ballots by hand. County canvassing boards appoint counting teams to view ballots and determine the voters intent, which is by law “a clear indication on the ballot that a voter made a definite choice.”  

But Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is outraged that Florida election officials are going to double-check the results and make absolutely certain that the GOP won. As far as hes concerned, the whole thing is a plot by liberal-leaning Broward County election officials to steal the election — and he expounded on why he believes this in a six-part thread on Twitter:

Each party and each candidate are allowed to have observers in the room, and those representatives can object to decisions on individual ballots, but cant otherwise interfere.

To be clear, Rubio doesnt offer a shred of evidence anything nefarious is going on, other than the fact that Broward County is Democratic, has a lot of uncounted ballots, and the elections supervisor failed to properly preserve ballots in a congressional primary two years ago.

The media and the public may view the proceedings from outside the recount location, in an area designated by the canvassing board. 

The official returns are due by Nov. 18. The Elections Canvassing Commission will be meeting to certify the official returns for federal, state, and multi-county offices at 9 a.m. on Nov. 20 at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee. The Elections Canvassing Commission consists of the governor — which is Scott — and two Cabinet members appointed by Scott.