Florida recount chugs along as more irregularities surface

Geraldine Edwards
November 15, 2018

"When will Bill Nelson concede in Florida?".

Florida Governor Rick Scott and his wife, Ann Scott, along with their daughters, Jordan Scott (L) and Alison Guimard (R) take to the stage during his election night party at the LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort on November 6 in Naples, Florida.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott holds a narrow lead over incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson.

For 15 years, Snipes has served as Broward County's elections chief, with mixed results.

Although CNN and MSNBC have done everything short of nominate Brenda Snipes for a Nobel Prize in their relentless push-back on criticism of the ballot counting in Broward County, not everyone, even on the left, is quite such big fans of the long-time and error-prone Elections Supervisor. And here in the Senate, Democratic candidates did extraordinarily well with a very hard map.

Mr Nelson - who is seeking a fourth term as senator - is now trailing Mr Scott by about 0.14% of the vote, according to U.S. media. I'll just check with my family.

Both Nelson and Scott have filed lawsuits over the election.

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Outside the yellow office block that houses the Broward County elections department where the votes are being counted, groups of protesters from both parties have been camped out for several days.

After Republicans, including U.S. President Donald Trump, made unsubstantiated accusations of illegal activity, a judge on Monday urged the warring sides in the Florida recount to "ramp down the rhetoric", saying it erodes public confidence in the election for Senate and governor. In the Senate race, Scott's lead over Nelson was 0.14%.

A machine recount is required for races where the margin of victory is less than 0.50 percentage points.

Amid the drama in the Senate race, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gillum withdrew his concession on Saturday (neither his concession nor the withdrawal are legally binding). That could spark disputes over whether the voter meant to mark it that way or not. In Broward County, it could take more than 30 hours just to sort through the pages with races that need to be recounted, according to election operations coordinator Fred Bellis.

Meanwhile, the elections supervisor in heavily Republican Bay County said he allowed about 150 people to cast ballots by email, the Miami Herald reported. The Republicans have upbraided officials there for tallying ballots slowly and not providing enough transparency about their process.

Much to the irritation of Scott's campaign, the Nelson campaign's recount efforts got a boost as the heavily Democratic counties of Broward and Palm Beach were still processing absentee and early voting ballots on the day after the election.

The Scott campaign had no immediate response to the deadline lawsuit, but called suits filed earlier in the week "frivolous and laughable".

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Schlapp said, "It's been incredibly frustrating to watch". All 67 counties face a state-ordered deadline of Thursday to finish their recounts.

Snipes insists she is making sure all the votes are counted, and Democrats are asking for patience. "We're going to win the recount because it's never been overturned before", Scott said.

'I recused myself from certifying results on the Elections Canvassing Commission in 2014, and I will do so again this year, ' he tweeted. The candidate, James Bonfiglio, sued on Monday to have his race counted first in Palm Beach County and asked for recounts on ballots in three other statewide races to be halted. If some of these counties fail to re-submit vote totals by this deadline, the elections will default to the initial outcomes favoring Scott, DeSantis and Fried. The agency has not embarked on a probe, because the Department of State has not presented any allegations of fraud, a spokesman for the Department of Law Enforcement, Jeremy Burns, said Sunday, repeating what he had previously said. Detzner's attorney's motion was filed at 2:37 p.m. Gievers' order was issued at 4:49 p.m.

A request for comment from the state Democratic Party was not immediately returned.

The move was largely ignored by DeSantis, who has already appointed a transition team in preparation for his governorship.

Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher said that the machines are "old" and were not created to work around the clock.

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