He may still be ahead in the preliminary ballot count, but Florida governor and Republican Senate candidate Rick Scott appears certain that the legally-mandated recount in his race will not be going his way. As such, he’s pulling out the stops in order to both slow the current count and discredit its final outcome.
The motions request that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and county sheriffs impound and secure all voting machines, ballots and tabulating devices when they are not in use.
Republican Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, still in office despite multiple past scandals, is also ratcheting up conspiratorial rhetoric, chastising the FDLE commissioner for his prior statement that his office has found “no evidence of criminal activity”; it appears Florida’s elected Republicans are determined to steamroll over law enforcement officials if need be.
Democratic Senate candidate Bill Nelson was blunt in his response: “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. He’s doing this for the same reason he’s been making false and panicked statements about voter fraud–he’s worried that when all the votes are counted he’ll lose this election.”
Scotts’ complaint also demands that ballots counted by election officials after the noon Saturday deadline be thrown out entirely. The recount is already shaping up to be a fiasco, as election officials are already warning that it will be “impossible” for Palm Beach County to complete their recount by next Thursday’s deadline. That will lead to lawsuits, as the courts are yet again asked to determine whether the rights of Florida citizens to be counted are more or less substantive than the deadline for counting them; Republicans will be pressuring to have the results certified regardless of remaining votes.
Top Republicans like Rick Scott look to bolster that argument by claiming fraud and criminality exists despite a complete lack of evidence of any such thing; the vote is slow in the most populated Florida counties because they are the most populated Florida counties, because they are working with insufficient equipment and resources, and because of robust voter turnout. Scott knows this, but instead seeks to elevate himself into a Senate spot by disrupting the count in whatever ways his campaign team can devise.
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