Florida Gov. Rick Scott Files Legal Motions To Stop Recount In Senate Race Against Bill Nelson
Republican Senate candidate Scott has been locked in a tight race against Nelson, and the Florida governor’s motions — filed in Broward County and Palm Beach courts — demand that the state’s Department of Law Enforcement and other local officials impound and secure all voting machines and ballots when they are not being used.
“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, according to The Hill. “Senator-Elect Rick Scott will continue to fight to protect the will of Florida voters.”
According to the latest vote tally, Scott leads Nelson by under 13,000 votes, or a margin of approximately 0.15%.
“I won the election,” Scott said on Fox News’ Fox & Friends Monday. “I’m going to focus on getting to Washington and getting my agenda implemented.”
Scott and other prominent Florida Republicans, as well as President Donald Trump, have accused Democrats of trying to rig the elections in their favor via a recount. Meanwhile, Democrats have claimed the GOP’s efforts to stop the recount are just the party’s latest example of voter suppression, an issue that has become a central one in this year’s midterm elections.
Nelson, who has refused to conceded the race, fired back at Scott’s recent moves by accusing his opponent of attempting to discount legal votes in Florida.
“If Rick Scott wanted to make sure every legal ballot is counted, he would not be suing to try and stop voters from having their legal ballot counted as intended,” Nelson said.
Nelson’s election lawyer Marc Elias reiterated a similar sentiment on Twitter:
BREAKING: No Floridian should have their rightful vote denied because of mail/post office delays. We are suing to protect these ballots. #CountAllTheVotes
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) November 12, 2018
On Thursday, Scott’s campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee filed two lawsuits against election officials in Palm Beach and Broward, claiming the counties’ offices violated Florida open-records laws.
Nelson’s campaign and the Democratic Executive Committee also filed their own lawsuit against Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, alleging local election officials improperly counted provisional ballots in the Senate race.
Florida’s election authorities have thus far said they have not seen any evidence of fraud or any other type of criminal activity in the ballot-counting process.
Hand recounts must be finished by Nov. 18, and official race results need to be certified by Nov. 20.