Bill Nelson Archives - Page 3 of 105 - Florida Politics

Rick Scott won’t take part in election certification, lawyer says

Gov. Rick Scott will sit out next Tuesday’s meeting of the state’s Elections Canvassing Commission, his attorney told a federal judge on Wednesday.

The news came during a conference call with Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker in a case brought by the League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause Florida. They wanted Scott to recuse himself because he ran for U.S. Senate this election cycle.

General counsel Daniel Nordby told Walker that Scott would name an alternate to sit in for him at the meeting where the Nov. 6 election results will be certified.

State law says the commission “shall consist of the Governor and two members of the Cabinet selected by the Governor, all of whom shall serve ex officio.

“If a member of the commission is unable to serve for any reason, the Governor shall appoint a remaining member of the Cabinet,” the law says. “If there is a further vacancy, the remaining members of the commission shall agree on another elected official to fill the vacancy.”

Currently, the other members are Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, both term-limited.

The other Cabinet member who could step in is CFO Jimmy Patronis, who just won his first full term in this year’s election.

He’s also a Scott political ally, appointed by the Governor to serve the remainder of former CFO Jeff Atwater‘s second term. Atwater left office early to work for Florida Atlantic University.

Scott previously recused himself in 2014 when he won re-election against Democrat Charlie Crist, now a Congressman.

The Governor’s challenge of incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson is in a machine recount; initial returns had him leading by a little more than 12,500 votes.

Rick Scott files recount lawsuit against Hillsborough elections supervisor

Gov. Rick Scott’s senatorial campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee are suing the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office for not allowing a designated representative for each group into the room where ballots are being recounted.

The parties filed the suit Tuesday in the Circuit Court of the 13th Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County.

The lawsuit cites Florida law that “unambiguously entitles each candidate and each political party” one representative present in the room where the recount is happening.

The parties say their representatives have been forced to monitor the recount in a separate room behind glass “without the ability to hear what is transpiring in the recount room.”

The lawsuit requests an immediate injunction against Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer and his office forcing them to allow a representative for both Scott’s campaign and the Republican Party to be physically present in the same room where the recount is being conducted.

The lawsuit cites a Florida administrative code that defines entities allowed to have a representative present during a recount as “a candidate whose ultimate success or failure in the race could be adversely or favorably impacted by the recount.”

It adds that the political parties affiliated with candidates in partisan races are also entitled to a representative.

Another provision states: “Recounts shall be conducted in a room large enough to accommodate … the necessary number of counting teams, the canvassing board members and representatives of each candidate, political party or political committee entitled to have representation.”

The lawsuit was filed by an army of attorneys from GrayRobinson including Tim Cerio, Andre Bardos, Christopher Carmody Jr., George Levesque, Jason Zimmerman, Ashley Lukis, and Jeff Aaron.

Scott declared himself victorious in his U.S. Senate bid against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson, but further counting of provisional and mail ballots put the two within a less than 0.25 percent vote margin, which triggers an automatic manual recount in all 67 Florida counties.

Both Scott and Nelson have filed a series of lawsuits including one by Scott attempting to allow the state to take control of voting machines when they are not in use. That suit was rejected. Nelson’s campaign filed lawsuits seeking to block canvassing boards from rejecting unconventionally marked ballots and another, which was denied, to extend the recount deadline. That deadline is Saturday.

Statewide, more than 8 million ballots were cast in the race.

The Florida Governor’s race between presumptive winner Ron DeSantis and his opponent, Andrew Gillum, is also being recounted. A manual recount is also underway in the Florida Agriculture Commissioner race. Locally, Senate District 18 ballots are also being recounted.

The Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday evening.

Early recount totals show little change

Recounts wrapping up in small and mid-sized counties are showing few changes to initial results in the races for Governor, U.S. Senate and Agriculture Commissioner.

But bigger counties still have until Thursday afternoon to complete the state-mandated recount process.

In Leon County, where elections officials completed running more than 140,000 ballots through tabulating machines Tuesday afternoon, the candidates in the major statewide races all lost several votes.

Recounted numbers in Citrus County found two additional votes each for Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis, U.S. Senate candidate Rick Scott and Agriculture-Commissioner candidate Matt Caldwell.

In Alachua County, Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s lead over Scott among county voters grew by 26 votes. Statewide, Nelson trailed Scott by 12,562 votes when unofficial results were posted Saturday from the Nov. 6 election.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, down by 33,684 in the unofficial statewide numbers, gained 12 votes in Alachua County in his race with DeSantis. And Democratic Agriculture-Commissioner candidate Nikki Fried, up 5,326 votes statewide on Saturday, gained 26 votes in Alachua County.

While political arguments and lawsuits have put the focus of the recount on Palm Beach and Broward counties, Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley said he doesn’t expect there to be “dramatic changes” in the statewide vote totals.

“That’s what I have seen borne out in most other recounts that I’ve been involved with,” Earley said. “Even in the 2000 recount, we didn’t have a lot of change, Leon County especially.”

In Leon County, Scott’s countywide total dropped three votes while Nelson’s support went down five votes. DeSantis lost five votes. Gillum lost six votes. Caldwell’s countywide number went down three. Fried lost four votes.

Earley said he expects those numbers will be made up by each candidate if a manual recount is called because of undervotes being set apart in machine counting.

In a machine recount, all ballots are fed through voting machines. Ballots with “undervotes” or “overvotes” — in which voters may have skipped races or made extra marks in races, causing their ballots to be rejected by the machines — are set aside, or “outstacked.”

If a manual recount becomes necessary, county canvassing boards examine the “outstacked” ballots.

Machine recounts were called for the three statewide races because each was within a margin of 0.5 percentage points or less when the unofficial results were posted.

County supervisors of election have until 3 p.m. Thursday to submit their machine recount numbers. Races with margins of 0.25 percentage points or less at that point will go to manual, or hand, recounts.

Florida Division of Elections spokeswoman Sarah Revell said the recount numbers won’t be posted for each county until after the Thursday deadline.

“We will post the second unofficial results all at one time on Florida Election Watch,” Revell said, referring to part of the division’s website.

Scott recount attorney Tim Cerio said that, as of Tuesday afternoon, 25 counties had completed recounting, and the process had started in all but Clay County, where 90,040 ballots were tabulated in the first unofficial totals.

Bill Nelson lawsuit asks federal court to waive recount deadline

Florida’s 67 counties should not have to sweat it out to meet Thursday’s and Sunday’s deadlines to recount last week’s contested statewide elections and instead should be allowed more time if they need it, argues a new federal lawsuit filed Tuesdeay by the U.S. Senate campaign of Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, continues a theme Nelson’s campaign began Monday, arguing that the recount deadlines could become difficult for county canvassing boards, and they would rather have the boards have the time to do it right than cut corners or miss deadlines.

Earlier Tuesday Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s election team argued the opposite, that the election and the recount must proceed according to the law that everyone agreed to, and that any efforts to short-circuit that law, even through federal lawsuits, “is incredibly partisan and irresponsible.”

The new lawsuit from Nelson’s campaign suggests it’s likely that some counties may not be able to make the deadlines.

“What we are saying is all counties should be committed, understanding that they need to work expeditiously and they need to work under the statutory regime as it exists; but paramount to that is that they assure accuracy and completion in the work,” Nelson’s lead recount lawyer Marc Elias said in a news conference Tuesday evening. “And if that means they need to have some additional time they ought to be able to have that time to assure that everyone’s vote is treated equally and with equal dignity.”

In the final first-round count of the ballots, Scott lead Nelson by just ove 15000 votes. Nelson’s people are claiming that Scott’s team is fighting against Nelson’s efforts to get every ballot counted because Scott’s campaign fears Nelson will win if all votes are counted.

Elias argued Tuesday night that Nelson’s team just wants to give counties enough extra time to be careful, not some big, indefinate period. The matter, he argued, is for the canvassing boards to not feel pressured, which could lead some to get sloppy in vote counting, just because of what he called an “arbitrary deadline” set in Florida law, which he said has no practical affect on whether the winners will be able to take office in time.

Earlier, Elias had suggested that it should be no problems for counties to meet the deadlines provided they brought in enough equipment and people to recount.

On the other hand, if counties do not meet the recounts in time for the election, then the previous count must be counted. In that prevoius count, Scott wins.

The new lawsuit also argues that means that votes would be counted one way in some counties, and another way in others, making the process inherently unfair to some voters, “based on the accident of where they reside.”

“It doesn’t today look like any counties are very far behind the pace they need to be on. So it looks like it’s a matter of days versus weeks,” Elias said.

“I don’t think of this in terms of extensions,” he added. “I think of this in terms of giving counties the time they need to do their statutory obligations of counting the votes and counting it accurately.”

Machine recounts are underway now to recount all the votes in the U.S. Senate election, the Governor election, and the Agriculture Commissioner election. The counties recounts of their shares of the 8.2 million ballots in Florida must be finished by 3 p.m. Thursday. If any of those elections remains with a difference of less than 0.25 percent – and the lawsuit calls that prospect “an inevitability” in the U.S. Senate race – then the hand recount of ballots, checking to see if the machines got the voters’ intent right, must be done by noon Sunday.

The latest lawsuit is one of four Nelson’s team has filed in federal court. The others ask judges to invalidate Florida’s signature-comparison rules; to extend the period in which mail-in ballots could be counted, provided they are postmarked prior to the election; and to invalidate Florida’s rules on “voter’s intent” to allow for the counting of ballots that have different kinds of marks.

“We should all agree here, whether you are a Republican or Democrat, is have a complete and accurate count of all lawful ballots,” Elias said.

Rick Scott’s team has no interest in seeing recount deadlines extended

After Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and his team suggested there may be good reasons to extend recount deadlines if counties need more time to sort the U.S. Senate election, Republican Gov. Rick Scott‘s team said not-so-fast.

Speaking for Scott, Republican U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney insisted Tuesday that the recounts must proceed by law, a reference to the fact that Florida law requires the machine recounts to complete by Thursday, and for completion of the anticipated hand recount for the U.S. Senate race by Sunday. He was backed by Tim Cerio of GrayRobinson, one of the lawyers on the Scott campaign, who said that everything Scott’s campaign is doing in court is seeking to make sure current laws are followed.

Their comments come as Nelson is in Washington D.C. meeting with Democratic Senate leaders and as Scott prepares to go to Washington Wednesday to begin new-member orientation for the U.S. Senate, including sitting for the class photograph.

They were responding to comments Nelson’s made Tuesday, that, given Palm Beach County’s reported request to extend the deadline, that counties should be given more time if needed. Nelson’s statement reflected beliefs first expressed Monday by his recount lawyer Marc Elias, that counties should be given the time they need to count every valid vote, because the deadlines were recreated to meet federal mandates for presidential elections, but don’t have any practical use in a U.S. Senate election.

“I think it would be absolutely outrageous that once again in this country that we would ignore law,” Rooney said

Cerio jumped in and concurred, adding that he was not aware of any legal requests reported to be pursued by Palm Beach County to extend the deadline, but adding Scott’s team was “trying to nail that down.”

“The idea that deadlines don’t matter in elections is an incredibly partisan and irresponsible comment, and the Supreme Court has clearly stated otherwise. Deadlines are critical to the integrity of the election process,” Cerio said.

Trump

Donald Trump calls on Bill Nelson to concede

President Donald Trump sought to intervene in Florida’s legally-mandated vote recount Tuesday, calling on the state’s Democratic senator to admit defeat and again implying without evidence that officials in two pivotal counties are trying to steal the election.

“When will Bill Nelson concede in Florida?” Trump said in a morning tweet. “The characters running Broward and Palm Beach voting will not be able to ‘find’ enough votes, too much spotlight on them now!”

There have been bumps as Florida undergoes a recount for both the governor and Senate races. Palm Beach County said it won’t finish its recount by the Thursday deadline. And in oft-criticized Broward County, additional sheriff’s deputies were sent to guard ballots and voting machines, a compromise aimed at alleviating concerns. Those counties are both Democratic strongholds.

Still, the state elections department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which are run by Republican appointees, have said they have seen no evidence of voter fraud. A Broward County judge challenged anyone who has evidence of fraud to file a report.

Presidents have historically sought to rise above the heated partisan drama surrounding election irregularities. Former President Barack Obama wasn’t so publicly involved when a recount and legal process in the 2008 election delayed a Democrat taking a Minnesota Senate seat until July 2009. Former President Bill Clinton struck a lower tone during the 2000 presidential recount, which also centered on Florida.

But this year, the Florida recount was personal for Trump. He aggressively campaigned in the state in the waning days of the election and put his finger on the scales of the Republican gubernatorial primary this summer by endorsing former Rep. Ron DeSantis. After Election Day, Trump’s aides pointed to the GOP’s seeming success in the state as a validation that the president’s path to re-election remained clear — a narrative that has grown hazier as the outcomes have become less certain.

White House spokeswoman Mercedes Schlapp said Tuesday the President “obviously has his opinion” on the recount.

“It’s been incredibly frustrating to watch,” she said.

Still, there’s not much choice but for Florida to go through the process. State law requires a machine recount in races where the margin is less than 0.5 percentage points. In the Senate race, Republican Rick Scott’s lead over Nelson was 0.14 percentage points. In the Governor’s contest, unofficial results showed Republican former Rep. Ron DeSantis ahead of Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by 0.41 percentage points.

Once the recount is complete, if the differences in any of the races are 0.25 percentage points or less, a hand recount will be ordered, meaning it could take even longer to complete the review of the Senate race if the difference remains narrow.

Broward Chief Circuit Judge Jack Tuter held an emergency hearing Monday on a request by Scott’s lawyers that deputies be put in charge of ballots and voting machines that aren’t being used until the recount is over.

An attorney for Broward Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes described layers of security including keycard and password access to rooms where ballots are kept, secured by deputies and monitored by security cameras and representatives of both campaigns and parties.

Scott’s lawyers had alleged in court documents that Snipes was engaging in “suspect and unlawful vote counting practices” that violate state law and that she might “destroy evidence of any errors, accidents or unlawful conduct.”

The judge said he could see no evidence of any violations, and said “I am urging because of the highly public nature of this case to ramp down the rhetoric.”

“If someone in this lawsuit or someone in this county has evidence of voter fraud or irregularities at the supervisor’s office, they should report it to their local law enforcement officer,” Tuter said. “If the lawyers are aware of it, they should swear out an affidavit, but everything the lawyers are saying out there in front of the elections office is being beamed all over the country. We need to be careful of what we say. Words mean things these days.”

Snipes has drawn criticism from Trump and other high-profile Republicans as her county’s election returns showed a narrowing lead for Scott during the ballot-counting in the days after Election Day, and even former Gov. Jeb Bush — who appointed her in 2003 — said she should be removed. Asked about those criticisms Tuesday, she hinted that she may not run for re-election in 2020.

“It is time to move on,” she said, later adding, “I’ll check with my family and they’ll tell me what I’m doing.”

Meanwhile, Elections Supervisor Mark Andersen in heavily Republican Bay County told the Miami Herald on Monday that he allowed about 150 people to cast ballots by email, which is illegal under state law. The county was devastated by a Category 4 hurricane in October and Scott ordered some special provisions for early voting there.

Manatee County, south of Tampa Bay, had to restart its recount Monday because a needed button on the machine wasn’t pushed. The error was caught after about a quarter of the county’s nearly 165,000 votes had been recounted, said Michael Bennett, the county’s Republican elections supervisor. It shouldn’t affect the county’s ability to meet Thursday’s deadline.

In Palm Beach, Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher said the county’s 11-year-old tallying machines aren’t fast enough to complete the recount by Thursday. The county is doing the Senate race first and will then do the governor’s race. If the deadline is not met in a race, the results it reported last Saturday will stand.

___

Associated Press writers Tamara Lush in St. Petersburg, Florida; Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Florida; and Darlene Superville and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report. Material republished with permission of The Associated Press.

From recount to retirement? Brenda Snipes hints she may not run for re-election

Controversial Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes is hinting she may step aside instead of run for re-election in 2020.

Snipes has held the position leading the county Supervisor of Elections office since 2003, when she was appointed by Republican Gov. Jeb Bush.

She has gone on to win re-election several times since, running as a Democrat. But speaking to reporters Tuesday, Snipes hinted that it may be “time to move on.”

Asked whether she would seek re-election in 2020, Snipes said, “I’ll just check with my family.”

While she didn’t say one way or the other what she would decide, Snipes’ tenure has often been the focus of controversy, including in the aftermath of this year’s midterm elections.

The county has faced heavy criticism for its placement of the U.S. Senate race on the ballot.

The contest was located underneath the ballot instructions, prompting worry that many voters may have skipped the race, thinking it was part of those instructions. Analyses have shown this may have cost U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson thousands of votes in a race he’s currently losing by less than 13,000. That race is currently undergoing a recount.

Snipes’ office has also been ripped for its delays in counting votes. It also was ordered by a judge to turn over vote counts to the Rick Scott campaign in compliance with Florida law.

That’s not the first time Snipes’ office has been reprimanded by a judge. Earlier this year, a judge ordered the Department of State to send election monitors down to Broward County to watch this year’s elections.

That ruling came after Snipes office was found to have preemptively destroyed ballots from the 2016 contest in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District.

Broward County began its recounts of eligible races on Tuesday morning. The deadline to complete those recounts is Thursday at 3 p.m.

Snipes expressed confidence Tuesday the county would meet that deadline.

Marco Rubio: Democratic lawyers working to ‘steal election’ in Florida

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio was back on Twitter Tuesday, sounding the alarm about a potentially stolen election in South Florida.

“Incompetent law breaking election officials lead to chance for lawyers to steal an election Dem lawyers aren’t here to make sure every vote is counted. They’re here to get as many votes for their client as possible counted & get as many votes for opponent as possible thrown out,” Rubio tweeted shortly after noon Tuesday.

& are headed towards being only counties to not make deadline for machine recount Potentially deliberate effort to delay final count hoping a judge will order domestic vote by mail received after 7pm counted, in violation of state law,” Rubio added.

Rubio has aggressively messaged the Republican position in the ongoing recount drama, sounding similar concerns last week.

“Florida law requires counties report early voting and vote-by-mail within 30 minutes after polls close,” he wrote on Twitter. “Forty-three hours after polls closed two Democrat strongholds Broward County and Palm Beach County are still counting and refusing to disclose how many ballots they have left to count.”

While the race for Governor between Ron DeSantis and Andrew Gillum sees a 0.41 percent spread as the machine recount progresses, the race for Senate is much closer (a 0.15 percent spread) between incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

With an undervote in play in Broward County, the nation’s eyes will be on whether it can meet the Thursday at 3 p.m. deadline for results.

Rubio is skeptical.

Despite skepticism from many corners, Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes claims that the deadline will be satisfied.

Rick Scott campaign taunts Bill Nelson for recount silence

During the campaign battle against Sen. Bill Nelson, Gov. Rick Scott‘s operation routinely chided the third-term Democratic incumbent for being “confused” or otherwise detached from what’s going on.

Remarkably, just two days after accusing the Nelson campaign of “fraud” on Fox News Sunday, Scott’s campaign is pivoting to a new message for Tuesday:

The Senator is barely providing evidence of his existence beyond “proof of life” videos.

This from spox Chris Hartline: “Where is Bill Nelson? What has his campaign been doing? You’ll notice, his campaign hasn’t been a party to any of the lawsuits filed by their side.”

(Incorrect, by the way. The campaign is co-plaintiff in the federal lawsuit over mismatched signatures. A hearing in that case is on Wednesday.)

“They’re filed by the liberal groups controlled by Chuck Schumer and the only person speaking publicly is his DC lawyer Marc Elias. We’ve seen some proof of life videos from Bill Nelson, but other than that,” Hartline added, “we have no idea where he is. Do you?”

Hartline contrasts Nelson, who “seems to have handed the reigns over to his D.C. lawyer,” with Scott “gearing up” to go to D.C. for “new-member orientation.”

This is quite the message evolution from Sunday.

“Sen. Nelson is clearly trying to commit fraud to try and win this election,” Scott said on Fox News Sunday. “That’s all this is.”

Nelson has avoided the spotlight since a Friday afternoon statement released via video.

“Scott is abusing the full force of his public office as Governor to stop a complete and accurate counting of all the votes in Florida – which would determine whether he wins or loses,” Nelson said.

Multiple observers, including POLITICO Florida, have noticed the contrast between the comportment of Scott and DeSantis during the recount.

“These guys are going full crazy and there’s no need,” said one DeSantis insider to POLITICO. “It’s utterly unhelpful and pointless. We’re going to win. So why do this?”

With results of the machine recount due by 3 p.m. Thursday, the open question will be how the respective Senatorial campaigns react if a hand recount is mandated, as the spreads indicate would be the case in two of the three statewide races in machine recount currently.

Scott leads Nelson by 0.15 percent; A hand recount would be mandated at 0.25 percent or less.

Meanwhile, one potential explanation for DeSantis’ posture in the Governor’s race: With his spread at 0.44 percent over Andrew Gillum, the likelihood of a hand recount is minimal.

Bill Nelson’s attorney calls on counties to get time needed on recounts

Saying there’s no practical reason for the statutory deadlines that counties face to complete machine and hand recounts of last week’s election, Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s lead vote-recount attorney said Monday he believes they should be given the time they need even beyond the deadlines.

Marc Elias told reporters that Florida’s law was not created with the intention of meeting rigid timetable requirements for the elections of a U.S. Senator or a Governor, and so, if counties need more time, the state ought to grant them waivers to make sure they have time to count every ballot.

The matter comes to the forefront Monday as all 67 counties launch a machine recount of three statewide elections, including that for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat, in which Nelson trails Republican Gov. Rick Scott by just over 12,000 votes out of 8.2 million cast in the election.

The machine recounts are to be completed by Thursday. If the U.S. Senate race remains below the 0.25 percent difference threshold, and that race goes, as now expected, to a hand-recount, county canvassing boards have to finish that by Sunday. Already, there is grumbling that some might not make it, and one Democratic Florida House candidate Jim Bonfiglio has filed suit to get Palm Beach County’s deadlines extended.

“If they can’t meet the Sunday deadline, then that deadline ought to be extended,” Elias said. “And it ought to be extended to ensure that every vote is counted because obviously you would not want, of all places in America, Florida would not want different counting treatments in some counties than in others.”

If a county cannot meet its deadline, the state could revert the vote count from that county back to the most recent vote count, which would have been from the machine recount for that county.

“The current law in Florida was passed after 2000 and the deadlines put into the statute were put into statute because of the 2000 experience. … and the Electoral College rules. There is a safe harbor in federal law that basically says that if states get their results in by a certain time it is presumptively correct,” Elias said. “The good news is this is not a presidential election year and there is no federal safe harbor that is going to kick in in December. The swearing-in of the Senate doesn’t happen until early January. The swearing-in of the governor doesn’t happen until January as well, so we’re not under the kinds of time constraints that statute was drafted to address.

“So it is important that as everyone looks at the process from here forward that counties be given the opportunity to conduct this process in an orderly fashion, and, most importantly, in an accurate fashion,” Elias continued. “So the big counties are necessarily going to take more time than the smaller counties. And that isn’t because the bigger counties are less well-run or are prone to more errors. It’s simply because they are bigger. They have more ballots to process.”

In expressing that concern, Elias essentially changed his position a bit from a press call last week when he talked about county canvassing boards simply having to have enough people and machines on hand to meet recount deadlines. On Friday he said he had “every confidence that the counties would be able to do this.”

“The question of how quickly a county can recount ballots is a function of two things,” Elias said last Friday after he was asked if counties could meet the recount deadlines. “If you think of it as a pipe: you can lengthen a pipe or you can widen the pipe. So lengthening a pipe is just adding more days. As you point out, that is not a solution in Florida law.  So that brings us to the other option, which is you widen the pipe, right? You increase the number of people who are counting ballots.”

Elias also defended much of the litigation that has been brought in the U.S. Senate race, at least the litigation not brought by the Republicans. That includes the lawsuit filed Monday by the League of Women Voters of Florida and the ACLU demanding that Scott recuse himself from having anything to do with the recounts because he’s a candidate affected by them.

Elias charged that Scott has been interfering, through rhetoric, through intimidation actions such as saying he was asking the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigation allegations of voter fraud, and through litigation brought by Scott’s team seeking to impound ballots and machines in Palm Beach and Broward counties. Nelson’s team is not a party to the LWV/ACLU suit but supports it. Nelson made a similar demand earlier Monday.

Elias has repeatedly expressed confidence that recounts will favor Nelson and has charged that Scott is trying to discredit the process because of that likelihood.

“I think it ought to cause the people of Florida to be concerned that the Governor is not thinking clearly in executing his authority as Governor and that he is being clouded by his desire as a candidate to prevail in the election,” Elias said.

He also repeatedly refuted all the claims by Scott and other Republicans that there is any evidence of voter fraud contending that a judge ruled that Monday in Broward County and that the FDLE has concluded that as well.

“The fact is there is no evidence of fraud. Both judges and state law enforcement have said that,” he said.

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