Gage Skidmore / Flickr Rick Scott...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

A Florida judge on Monday morning denied Florida Governor and Senate candidate Rick Scott’s request to impound Broward County voting machines and ballots when they were not in use, a move that appeared to be a nakedly partisan effort to cast doubt on the integrity of Broward’s recount process. “I don’t think I have any evidence to enter a mandatory injunction right now,” said state court Judge Jack Tuter, and Jeb Bush appointee, in denying Scott’s request. Tuter also urged both sides to “ramp down the rhetoric” and said anyone who actually had evidence of fraud should come forward. “Transparency is imperative in this case,” he added.

Florida is currently a tangled web of recounts and lawyers that’s likely to get much worse before it gets better. Monday’s hearing included four cases and 17 lawyers according to Buzzfeed’s Dominic Holden. “Everyone wants to intervene in every case, basically,” Tuter said at the outset.

Ultimately, Tuter tasked all the parties with coming up with some monitoring agreement amongst themselves and suggested having three sheriff’s deputies monitor the election headquarters. Lawyers for the parties in the case are supposed to provide their proposal to the judge by 1 PM EST.

“I am not casting any dispersions on any officials right now. I am going to leave it to you and see if you can reach an agreement,” Tuter said before recessing.

All 67 counties are racing to meet a Thursday deadline for their machine recounts. Scott’s team has put most of the emphasis on two heavily Democratic counties, Broward and Palm Beach, both of which have been central to recount dramas in the past. Scott has taken aim in particular at Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes, a Democrat who was appointed to the post in 2003 by then-Republican Gov. Jeb Bush. Snipes has been re-elected to the position every four years since: 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016.

Scott has good reason for trying to both curtail and cast doubt on the recount process in Florida, and a lawyer for Sen. Bill Nelson thinks he knows what it is.

Next up on the legal front: Scott’s lawsuit challenging ballots.

Politically, Republican activists are purposely trying to sow chaos. The Tampa Bay Times writes:

A local Republican Party leader in Florida wants people to flood the Florida Department of Law Enforcement with demands that the agency launch an investigation of election fraud in Broward County.

FDLE, which is technically under Scott’s supervision, has already declined his request to open an investigation into Broward citing lack of evidence.

Republicans are also trying to flood the zone with misinformation and, frankly, they’re getting plenty of help from news outlets blasting out Trump’s baseless lies without any framing whatsoever. It’s a disgrace.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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