Rick Scott Archives - Page 6 of 403 - Florida Politics

‘Ballots massively infected’: Donald Trump demands immediate call on Florida election

At least two of the three statewide elections recounts being conducted by Florida’s 67 counties are unnecessary, per President Donald Trump.

Trump alludes here to ballot anomalies in Broward County and Palm Beach counties, applying federal pressure that complements what allies are doing in-state.

Attorney General Pam Bondi on Sunday scolded the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for declining so far to investigate the tabulation of votes in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Bondi, a Tampa Republican, also demanded Secretary of State Ken Detzner report all election irregularities in the Democratic-leaning counties to the Office of Statewide Prosecution, which reports to her.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott, as a U.S. Senate candidate and not as Governor, on Thursday announced a lawsuit against Broward and Palm Beach counties demanding records on the number of votes cast.

As totals stand on Monday morning, Republicans are set to win two of the three contested statewide races, with a Democrat winning the third.

Republican Senate candidate Rick Scott leads incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson by 12,562, Republican Gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis leads Democrat Andrew Gillum by 33,684 votes, and Democratic Agriculture Commissioner candidate Nikki Fried leads Republican Matt Caldwell by 5,326 votes.

Trump’s reactions are notable in the context of a victory lap press conference last week.

“Look at what happened in Florida,” Trump said. “We did unbelievably well, winning the Senate and the governorship against two talented people.”

Trump noted that “we weren’t expected to win” in Florida, framing the victories as a vindication of what he has done as President.

Throughout his remarks, Trump kept circling back to wins in Florida, where he rallied twice in the final week.

Amid recount, Pam Bondi raises prosecution threat for Broward, Palm Beach officials

Outgoing Attorney General Pam Bondi on Sunday scolded the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for declining so far to investigate the tabulation of votes in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Bondi, a Tampa Republican, also demanded Secretary of State Ken Detzner report all election irregularities in the Democratic-leaning counties to the Office of Statewide Prosecution, which reports to her.

The state’s chief legal officer sent a letter to FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen saying the law enforcement agency has an obligation to investigate now.

“I am deeply troubled by your announcement that you will not pursue any investigation or inquiry into clearly documented irregularities of election officials in Broward and Palm Beach counties,” Bondi wrote.

In a separate letter, Bondi told Detzner to report “any indication creating a reasonable suspicion of potential criminal activity” on the part of Broward or Palm Beach elections officials to her office. (Both letters are also at the bottom of this post.)

Republican Gov. Rick Scott, as a U.S. Senate candidate and not as Governor, on Thursday announced a lawsuit against Broward and Palm Beach counties demanding records on the number of votes cast.

That came as continued votes caused his lead in a Senate race over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson to erode.

When final unofficial vote totals were reported to the Division of Elections by noon Saturday, Scott held a 12,562-vote, or 0.15 percent, lead in the Senate election—well with the 0.5 percent to trigger a statewide mandatory machine recount.

At a press conference, Scott also called on the FDLE to investigate irregularities in the two counties.

An FDLE spokesperson said they were “working with” Department of State officials but had not received any credible reports of elections fraud and would not investigate—at least not at that time.

“The FDLE communicated with the Department of State and they indicated at the time that they have no allegations of fraud,” FDLE spokesman Jeremy Burns said Friday afternoon.

“We offered our assistance in the event that any criminal allegations are identified, and we will remain in contact with them.”

Bondi’s letters came the same day that Scott filed an emergency complaint (see below) seeking to require that FDLE and local sheriff’s offices impound and secure all voting machines, tallies, and ballots in Broward and Palm Beach counties that are not actively in use.

Scott’s complaint also asks a judge to insist, in particular, that Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes not destroy any ballots and that Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher follow legal requirements for reviewing ballots.

In a statement, Democrats said such tactics showed an abuse of power by Scott.

“In suing to seize ballots and impound voting machines, Rick Scott is doing his best to impersonate Latin American dictators who have overthrown democracies in Venezuela and Cuba,” said Juan Peñalosa, the Florida Democratic Party’s executive director.

“The Governor is using his position to consolidate power by cutting at the very core of our Democracy.”

Rick Scott wants votes counted after deadline tossed before recount

A new lawsuit filed by Republican Rick Scott’s Senate campaign demands a judge remove from election totals all votes counted after noon Saturday by elections officials in heavily Democratic Broward County.

Scott leads Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson by 12,562 votes as of the completion Saturday of an initial tabulation of the election.

That represents 0.15 percent of nearly 8.2 million votes cast statewide. Florida law calls for a machine recount when the margin between candidates falls within 0.5 percent, then for a subsequent manual recount if the margin remains within 0.25 percent.

Scott’s complaint dubs any votes uncounted before the statutory deadline for reporting election results as “Illegal Ballots.”

“Defendants have failed and refused to confirm whether they will count and/or add the Illegal Ballots to Defendants’ official return, or maintain the Illegal Ballots segregated at all times and not included in Defendants’ official return,” the complaint reads.

“There is no basis or law that would require or permit Defendants to count ballots after the submission of the Unofficial Return.”

The law requires all counties to report a count to the state as of noon Saturday. Democratic leaning counties Broward and Palm Beach tabulated thousands of votes between Tuesday and Saturday, as Scott’s margin of victory shrunk from about 53,000 votes to less than 13,000.

Republicans complain in particular at a delay in counting early and vote-by-mail ballots.

Scott’s suit was filed shortly after a press call in which Scott attorney Tim Cerio said any ballots mailed to elections officials before the election but not received before 7 p.m. on Election Day should be considered fraudulent.

“If there’s a willful counting of those ballots after the fact, yes that would be fraud,” Cerio said.

Nelson says Scott’s lawsuit seeks to intentionally disenfranchise voters for circumstances beyond their control.

“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.

“He’s doing this for the same reason he’s been making false and panicked claims about voter fraud—he’s worried that when all the votes are counted he’ll lose this election.

Scott previous sued successfully for Palm Beach and Broward counties to provide records to his campaign before the completion of ballot counting. Elections officials argues that would delay a vote count but a judge sided with Scott and ordered the records to be handed over.

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Ted Deutch: Every vote should count.

Count every vote. Why is that such a troubling goal for Gov. Rick Scott, Sen. Marco Rubio, and President Donald Trump?

As the margins narrowed in the U.S. Senate, Florida Governor, and Florida Commissioner of Agriculture races, Republicans responded to a close election by trying to erode confidence in our democratic institutions and prevent Florida voters’ voices from being heard.

Since Election Day, Rubio and Scott have spouted conspiracy theories, requested law enforcement investigations to harass elections officials, and filed lawsuits to cloud the vote counting process in suspicion.

These are acts of desperation and show that Republicans are afraid of what will happen if every Florida vote is counted.

Marco Rubio should remember that he is our U.S. Senator and is supposed to be representing every Floridian. His post-election tweets were irresponsible and are intended to slowly erode confidence in the results.

He baselessly claimed that Democrats “are here to change the results of election,” and that lawyers will “try to steal a seat in the U.S. Senate and Florida Cabinet.”

Sen. Rubio is not telling the truth and offered zero evidence for his conspiracy theories. He portrayed post-election night vote counting as a troubling anomaly. It wasn’t. After the 2016 election, 10 million ballots were counted over the course of 10 days after polls closed nationwide.

This year, five million ballots across the country had yet to be counted by Friday.

In many races, overseas, mail-in, and provisional ballots that are counted and verified after Election Day won’t change the outcome. But in Florida, we have six very close races that deserve to have every vote counted without interference from our Senator.

Sen. Rubio was joined by Gov. Scott who claimed “unethical liberals” are trying to steal the election. He unsuccessfully ordered the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate. In response, an FDLE spokesperson said that they would be willing to investigate credible allegations of fraud, but they hadn’t seen any.

That’s because our own Gov.’s allegations are a farce.

As Sen. Rubio and Gov. Scott could have guessed, President Trump took the bait and joined the fray on Twitter. He tweeted about “Election Fraud in #Broward and Palm Beach” and claimed Florida already chose Rick Scott for Senate. He even closed a Friday afternoon Twitter tirade by thanking Sen. Rubio for “exposing the potential corruption going on.”

But Sen. Rubio hasn’t exposed anything. He’s made baseless conspiracy theories that he knew would be fodder for a president that has used similar false allegations in the past to attack election results.

In 2018, Sen. Rubio amplified a President Trump tactic from 2016. After he lost the popular vote by a historic margin of 3 million votes, President Trump used unfounded voter fraud claims to waste taxpayer resources on a so-called the.

The commission was shut down after states refused to provide it with information that violated voters’ privacy and could have been used in erroneous voter purges like we’ve seen multiple times in Florida.

Sen. Rubio often portrays himself as a responsible and reasonable actor in a political world that has gone mad. Friday afternoon, he tried to dial back his false allegations of fraud by claiming that he just wants information on the state-mandated schedule.

But it’s too late.

Sen. Rubio fueled the president’s conspiracy engine this week in an effort to drive Florida’s election off the rails. We can all hope that the damage he’s caused won’t stop the work Florida’s elections officials are doing as three very close races proceed to automatic recounts that will ensure that every vote is counted.

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U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch represents Florida’s 22nd Congressional District.

Rick Scott: Bill Nelson ‘is clearly trying to commit fraud’

Republican Senate hopeful Rick Scott told Fox News that Democratic opponent Bill Nelson wants fraudulent ballots to count in Florida’s U.S. Senate race.

“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.”

Scott spoke to the cable news network about a recount that began today for the Senate race. Results certified Saturday showed Scott leading Nelson by 12,562 votes, or 0.15 percent of nearly 8.2 million votes cast.

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace pressed Scott on the accusation of fraud, noting the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has not yet received any written complaint of fraud.

Scott responded that Nelson’s legal team wants fraudulent votes counted in the totals.

“We have very specific election laws in the state to try and prevent fraud,” Scott said.

He noted lawsuits his campaign team filed against election supervisors in Broward and Palm Beach counties to ensure party officials could review the ballot counting process. A judge last week ordered the elections officials to release information to Scott’s campaign.

Scott noted Nelson’s legal team objected to a canvassing board in Broward County rejecting a vote from a non-citizen and, he said, now wants vote-by-mail ballots rejected because signatures don’t match to be counted.

Nelson attorney Marc Elias on Saturday told reporters ballots should not be tossed because an election worker thought signatures didn’t match closely. He also said votes still in the mail but not delivered before Election Day should be counted.

Scott seemed to argue against that today.

“Nelson has gone to court to say fraudulent ballots that were not properly delivered, signed, whatever, should be counted,” Scott said.

Wallace said Nelson declined an invitation to appear on Fox News—and he did not appear on any of the Sunday political talks this morning—but played a clip of Nelson from earlier this week saying: “Votes are not being found, they are being counted.”

But Scott cast doubt on whether new votes found since election day were cast at all, again singling out votes in Broward and Palm Beach.

“Another 93,000 votes were cast—or somehow they came up with another 93,000 votes after Election Day,” Scott said. “We still don’t know how they came up with that.”

Bill Nelson’s attorney still likes his odds. Here’s why.

The lead recount attorney for Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson remains confident his client will come out ahead after a manual recount of votes, despite a 12,562-vote deficit behind Republican Rick Scott in totals certified Saturday by the state.

“I expect to see that margin to evaporate entirely and for Sen. Nelson to take a small lead,” said attorney Marc Elias.

The margin between Scott and Nelson today represents 0.15 percent of nearly 8.2 million votes cast statewide. Florida law requires a machine recount if the gap between candidates falls with 0.5 percent.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner on Saturday ordered election officials in all 67 counties to prepare for a recount of three statewide races: U.S. Senate, Governor and Agriculture Commissioner.

Elias expects when the machine recount concludes that the gap between Nelson and Scott will shrink substantially.

The main reason? Undervotes.

There’s already been media speculation about why Broward County, a Democratic bastion, saw 24,992 fewer votes counted for U.S. Senate than for Governor, despite the race appearing first on the ballot.

Outlets like FiveThirtyEight suggest poor ballot design could play a role, but Elias dismissed that.

If design were a major element, Elias said, then ballots counted in Broward County since Tuesday would have similarly discrepancies. But Elias says as he observes election returns, the most recently counted ballots don’t show a significant deficit in Senate votes.

That leads Elias to believe the issue had to do with machine calibration. The devices counting votes must be carefully set to count light marks for votes but not be so sensitive to pick up stray marks as overvotes.

Machines across the state will be recalibrated before the recount, which most counties expect to start Sunday. That should lead more votes cast for U.S. Senate.

Based on where there seem to be a high number of undervotes, Elias expects gains for Nelson.

But even if the machines don’t pick up all potential votes, Elias expects a hand recount will find more. State law requires a manual recount if the vote margin remains within 0.25 percent.

“The human eye can make judgments on voter intent that machines can’t,” Elias said.

If a voter marked a bubble with an ‘X’ or circled a choice, then a machine likely won’t count that. But a canvassing board will put that vote into totals.

Elias brushed aside concerns raised by Republicans about some 20 rejected provisional ballots in Broward County that were inadvertently put in the vote pool there.

The ballots were all rejected because of mismatched signatures, Elias said. The Nelson campaign has a pending federal lawsuit that asserts Florida’s signature requirement law violates a constitutionally protected right to vote.

In the end? Elias doesn’t know for sure where the margin will settle, but remains upbeat.

“I like Sen. Nelson’s odds over those of the Governor,” Elias said.

Rick Scott says forgo recount; Bill Nelson confident he will win

Republican Rick Scott’s Senate campaign today called on incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson to call it quits and forgo a statewide recount, but the Democrat remains confident he can still win the election.

A final tabulation of unofficial election results as of Saturday showed Scott holding a 12,562-vote edge on Nelson.

“The voters of Florida have spoken and Rick Scott was elected to the United States Senate in a close but decisive victory,” said Scott spokesman Chris Hartline.

“The margin of victory is larger than any recount since 2000 has ever closed, with the average recount changing the outcome by just a few hundred votes. It’s time for Senator Nelson to accept reality and spare the state of the Florida the time, expense and discord of a recount.”

But Nelson remains girded for battle.

“This process is about one thing: making sure every legal ballot is counted and protecting the right of every Floridian to participate in our democracy,” Nelson said.

“Since Tuesday, the gap has shrunk from roughly 60,000 votes to about 12,500 – the margin has reduced by 78 percent and is now roughly 0.15 percent.”

Importantly, the tightening of the vote happened as Democratic counties Broward and Palm Beach continued tabulated early voting and vote-by-mail results.

Nelson said there’s every reason to believe a recount can still turn around his fortuned.

“We have every expectation the recount will be full and fair and will continue taking action to ensure every vote is counted without interference or efforts to undermine the democratic process,” he said.

“We believe when every legal ballot is counted we’ll win this election.”

Republicans pointed toward statements Nelson attorney Marc Elias has made in different recount fights across the country.

The comments seem to reference when Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman faced a similar margin of votes in a long recount battle against Democrat Al Franken. U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid in January 2009 told Coleman “graciously conceding” would be the best option at a time when Franken held a similar lead to Scott, as reported by the Star-Tribune.

Incidentally, Coleman did not, and on Fox News today, he advised Scott not to be “out-lawyered.” He ultimately lost to Franken by 312 votes.

Notably, the Senate race dealt with a large voter pool. The 2008 election between Franken and Coleman deal with approximately 3.5 million votes while the Florida race this year deals with nearly 8.2 million votes.

But Scott’s camp also notes with Florida’s size, Scott received more votes than any Florida Senate candidate ever has in a midterm election.

Ken Detzner formally orders Florida recount for Senate, Governor, Ag. Commissioner

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner has formally ordered a machine recount in three statewide races: U.S. Senate, Governor and Agriculture Commissioner.

“I hereby order the canvassing boards responsible for canvassing [the three races] to conduct a machine recount of the votes cast in the race,” reads an order from Detzner sent to elections supervisors in all 67 Florida counties. Separate orders were sent for each race subject to a recount.

The Secretary of State’s office also sent procedures to be followed for the machine recount.

Totals as of 12:30 on Saturday shows Republican Senate candidate Rick Scott leading incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson by 12,562, Republican Gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis beating Democrat Andrew Gillum by 33,684 votes, and Democratic Agriculture Commissioner candidate Nikki Fried ahead of Republican Matt Caldwell by 5,326 votes.

All three races fall within the 0.5 percent margin to trigger a statewide recount.

For now, only a machine recount has been orders and that remains the focus of elections officials.

Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner says in his office, he will count all three statewide races simultaneously during the machine recount.

Two of the races, for U.S. Senate and Agriculture Commissioner, have margins right now that fall with 0.25 percent of total votes cast. If the gap between candidates remains that tight after the machine recount, the law requires Detzner to order a hand recount as well.

Turner says the case of a manual recount, only over- and under-votes will be counted.

With a recount moving forward in Florida’s U.S. Senate contest, Democrat Bill Nelson projected confidence totals will still swing his way.

“This process is about one thing: making sure every legal ballot is counted and protecting the right of every Floridian to participate in our democracy,” Nelson said in a statement. “Since Tuesday, the gap has shrunk from roughly 60,000 votes to about 12,500 – the margin has reduced by 78 percent and is now roughly .15 percent.

“We have every expectation the recount will be full and fair and will continue taking action to ensure every vote is counted without interference or efforts to undermine the democratic process. We believe when every legal ballot is counted we’ll win this election.”

But Republican leaders say they are resolved to make sure the count is fair and confident Republicans will come out ahead in all three races.

“Democrats would like nothing more than to rip victories away from Ron DeSantis, Rick Scott & Matt Caldwell,” said Christian Ziegler, a member of the Florida GOP Executive Board. “As we’ve seen in Broward County, they will stop at nothing to win, including possibly violating the law.

“My job is to block any Democrat shenanigans and ensure that every vote is fairly counted and that the proper processes are being executed.”

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Here are the six Florida races with orders for recounts

After the drama of election night and fierce battles about counting votes, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner on Saturday ordered recounts in high-stakes races for U.S. Senate, Governor and Agriculture commissioner.

The orders, along with recounts slated in three legislative districts, were no surprise: State law requires “machine” recounts when the margins between candidates are 0.5 percent or less. As local officials continued to count ballots after Tuesday’s election, it became clear that all six of the races would fall under that requirement.

The machine recounts will play out over five days, with county canvassing boards required to report results by 3 p.m. Thursday. At that point, races with margins of .25 percent or less will go to manual, or “hand,” recounts.

Counties were required by noon Saturday to report unofficial results to the state. The races set for recounts are:

— The U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott. In the unofficial results, Scott had 4,098,107 votes, or 50.07 percent, while Nelson had 4,085,545 votes, or 49.92 percent.

— The Governor’s race between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum. In the unofficial results, DeSantis had 4,075,879 votes, or 49.59 percent, while Gillum had 4,042,195 votes, or 49.18 percent.

— The race for Agriculture Commissioner between Democrat Nikki Fried and Republican Matt Caldwell. In the unofficial results, Fried had 4,030,337 votes, or 50.03 percent, while Caldwell had 4,025,011 votes, or 49.97 percent.

— The race in Hillsborough County’s state Senate District 18 between Sen. Dana Young, a Tampa Republican, and House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, a Tampa Democrat. In the unofficial results, Cruz had 104,001 votes, or 50.09 percent, while Young had 103,625 votes, or 49.91 percent.

— The race in Volusia County’s House District 26 between Rep. Patrick Henry, a Daytona Beach Democrat, and Republican Elizabeth Fetterhoff. In the unofficial results, Fetterhoff had 30,591 votes, or 50.05 percent, while Henry had 30,532 votes, or 49.95 percent.

— The race for an open seat in Palm Beach County’s House District 89 between Republican Mike Caruso and Democrat Jim Bonfiglio. In the unofficial results, Caruso had 39,228 votes, or 50.02 percent, while Bonfiglio had 39,191 votes, or 49.98 percent.

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.”

In races that go to manual recounts after the Thursday deadline, county canvassing boards will examine the “outstacked” ballots.

The results from the manual recounts must be provided to the state no later than noon on Nov. 18. Two days later, the state Elections Canvassing Commission, comprised of Scott and two members of the Florida Cabinet, will meet in Tallahassee to certify the official election results.

‘Enough is enough’: Lindsey Graham decries vote count ‘shenanigans’

On Saturday, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham warned in a press call that attempts by Florida Democrats to steal the Florida election wouldn’t work.

“Enough is enough, and it’s time to declare Rick Scott the winner after the recount,” Graham said.

Graham had made similar comments on Fox News’ Hannity Friday.

“We believe Rick won fair and square,” Graham said, decrying “shenanigans” in Broward County.

“The activity I’m referring to is a flagrant violation of the law regarding reporting requirements,” Graham said, wondering if “incompetence” or “fraud” drove anomalies.

“How can it be that two, three days after the election, you report 78,000 votes more than what you reported on Election Day … the history of Broward County is unsavory at best,” Graham said.

“There’s a reason there’s a reporting requirement thirty minutes after polls closed,” Graham said, noting Broward and Palm Beach present “problems at every level.”

“These two counties … when it comes to these shenanigans, enough is enough,” Graham said.

“Broward County is in flagrant violation of Florida law. Same with Palm Beach,” Graham said.

“I hope people across Florida and the nation will take a look at what’s going on in Broward and Palm Beach County,” Graham said, before relating this somehow to the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Three statewide races are in recount territory.

Republican Rick Scott, for whom Graham campaigned, leads Bill Nelson in the Senate race by .16 percent (13,404 votes).

Republican Ron DeSantis leads Andrew Gillum by .42 percent (34,500 votes) in the Governor’s race.

Democrat Nikki Fried has a .06 percent (4,475 vote) lead over Republican Matt Caldwell in the race for Agriculture Commissioner.

Unofficial results are due at noon Saturday, and if these margins hold at under .5 percent, recounts will be in play.

Thursday at 3 p.m. is the deadline for the results of automatic recounts to be reported to the Florida Secretary of State.

If a difference is less than .25 percent, the manual recount scenario would be in play, with a deadline for this being Sunday Nov. 18.

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