Scott takes additional legal action as Florida recount moves forward
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) filed two emergency motions in Palm Beach and Broward County courts on Sunday, ramping up legal efforts as recounts began in the state’s contested Senate race.
The motions request that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and county sheriffs impound and secure all voting machines, ballots and tabulating devices when they are not in use.
Scott’s campaign also filed a complaint in Broward County court asking a judge to bar the county canvassing board from including ballots counted after a noon Saturday deadline in the final vote tally.
“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.
“Senator-Elect Rick Scott will continue to fight to protect the will of Florida voters.”
The flurry of legal action comes a day after Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner ordered recounts in three statewide races, including the Senate race.
Scott appeared on track for victory on Election Day only to have his lead over incumbent Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonNASA, SpaceX and the private-public partnership that caused the flight of the Crew Dragon Lobbying world The most expensive congressional races of the last decade MORE (D-Fla.) diminish considerably in the days following the election.
The most recent vote tally shows Nelson trailing Scott by less than 13,000 votes — a margin of about 0.15 points.
In a statement, Nelson accused Scott of trying to invalidate lawfully cast ballots.
“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.
Scott’s campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee filed two lawsuits against election officials in Broward and Palm Beach on Thursday, alleging that their offices violated state open-records laws.
Meanwhile, Nelson’s campaign and the Democratic Executive Committee filed a lawsuit against Detzner, challenging how local election officials evaluate provisional ballots. A hearing in that case is set for Wednesday.
Scott and his allies have sought in recent days to raise suspicions of fraud in the ballot-counting process.
Both the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Florida Department of State have said that they have received no credible allegations of fraud or criminal activity.
Meanwhile, Nelson and his allies have argued that a recount is necessary to ensure that all lawfully cast ballots are counted, accusing Scott and Republicans of trying to suppress unfavorable votes.
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Results of machine recounts in the Florida Senate, gubernatorial and agriculture commissioner races must be submitted by 3 p.m. on Thursday. If two candidates in any of those races are separated by a margin of 0.25 points or less after machine recounts, hand recounts are triggered.
Hand recounts must be completed by Nov. 18, and official results must be certified on Nov. 20.