With a gubernatorial and a U.S. Senate election at stake, a circuit court judge on Monday rejected outgoing Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s request for the state to “impound and secure” all voting machines in elections headquarters of the Democratic stronghold Broward County when they’re not being used to recount ballots.
Scott filed suit Sunday accusing the county’s elections supervisor, Brenda Snipes, of repeatedly failing to account for the number of ballots left to be counted and failing to report results regularly as required by law.
On Sunday, the supervisors of elections across Florida began a mandatory machine recount of more than 8.2 million ballots cast in the U.S. Senate race.
Scott led Nelson by 57,000 votes on Election Night but the margin was down to 13,000 on Monday. Republican Ron DeSantis leads Democratic Rep. Andrew Gillum in the governor’s race by 36,000.
Gillum during an address at New Mount Olive Baptist Church in Ft. Lauderdale, CBS Miami reported, warned that Democrats are “not going to be shushed.”
“Even if it takes you into the middle of next week, you better count every vote. We’re not going to be shushed. We’re not going to be sat down. We are not going to be ignored,” he said.
On Monday, Fox 35 Orlando reported, Nelson called for Scott to recuse himself from “any role” in Florida’s recount process, accusing the governor of “using his power as governor to try to undermine the voting process.”
In Arizona, Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema appears have opened up an insurmountable lead of 1.7 percentage points over Republican Rep. Martha McSally. The Arizona Republic newspaper estimated Monday that with about 170,000 ballots still to be counted, McSally would need to win those votes by nearly 23 percentage points to retake the lead. Arizona elections typically take longer, ABC News noted, because of signature verification used on ballots sent in by mail.
In Georgia, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams filed a federal lawsuit Sunday asking a judge to delay vote certifications by a day and to make officials count any votes that were wrongly rejected. The campaign is trying to track down all remaining provisional ballots and any other uncounted votes to force a runoff against Republican Brian Kemp, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. The paper said Abrams chances are dwindling as more counties report their final ballots and certify their votes. In a tight congressional race in the state, Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux filed an emergency motion in federal court on Sunday evening to delay Gwinnett County from certifying its election results to count absentee and provisional ballots that had been rejected.
On Monday, talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh, who broadcasts from Florida, knew what was on the minds of his listeners: “Why is it that all of these elections that were called for Republicans are now too close to call? How does that happen? How do Republicans win these close elections and then all of a sudden they become too close to call, and concessions are rescinded, and all the newfound ballots that nobody knew existed on election night just magically happen to be Democrat ballots?”
Limbaugh noted Gillum’s call to “count every ballot.”
“‘Count every vote’ is nothing more than a trick to make people think dastardly, evil Republicans are not counting every vote,” Limbaugh said.
“Where is the idea we’re not counting every vote?” he asked. “We did count every vote on election night, and the Republicans won the Senate and the governorship in Florida! So now it’s recounts have been triggered, and so they’re looking for additional votes, and they’re trying to make sure every provisional ballot, eligible or not, gets counted.”
Limbaugh later turned to the Arizona race, recalling that a generation ago, California and Arizona “were solidly, not just Republican, but conservative.”
“Now, we skip forward to 2018. We’ve got a Senate contest between a woman named Kyrsten Sinema, who is a Marxist. You can’t deny that to some people she’s attractive. It matters. But she’s a Marxist. She is an unapologetic Marxist and leftist. She even has hippie culture identities.”
Limbaugh said he was perplexed that 250,000 Arizonans who voted for Doug Ducey for governor didn’t vote for McSally, the highly decorated Air Force fighter pilot.
It’s possible, he said that McSally failed because she’s a moderate.
But, as in California, there has been a massive demographic shift he said, brought about by illegal immigrants who have chosen not to assimilate.
Limbaugh said “you don’t have to go back very far and someone like Kyrsten Sinema would not have had a prayer of winning anything in Arizona, and yet here she is victorious.”
‘Incompetence and gross mismanagement’
In Broward County, the Republican Party accused Snipes of “incompetence and gross mismanagement” after the recount was delayed for several hours because of a problem with a tabulation machine.
Broward officials also admitted they mistakenly counted 22 absentee ballots that had been rejected. But the dismissed ballots were mixed in with 205 legal ballots, and Snipes said it would be unfair to throw out all of those votes.
Meanwhile, the executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, Juan Penalosa, accused Scott of “using his position to consolidate power by cutting at the very core of our democracy.”
Last week, the Democratic Party enlisted Perkins Coie lawyer Marc Elias in the recount effort. He worked for both the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election. And it was his law firm that hired Fusion GPS to produce the infamous dossier of anti-Trump opposition research.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., tweeted Thursday that “Democrat lawyers are descending on Florida.”
“They have been very clear they aren’t here to make sure every vote is counted. They are here to change the results of election; & Broward is where they plan to do it, the senator said.
Trump: ‘Honest vote no longer possible’
In Palm Beach County on Monday, the supervisor of elections supervisor, Susan Boucher, said she doesn’t believe her department will be able to meet the state’s Thursday deadline to complete the recount.
President Trump weighed in with a tweet Monday, saying, “An honest vote count is no longer possible” in Florida. Trump said election-night results showing Scott and De Santis leading should be used to determine the winner.
The president alleged “new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged.”
The Miami Herald reported the top elections official in Bay County said he allowed some voters displaced by Hurricane Michael to cast ballots by email or fax, even though state law doesn’t allow it.
Bay County Supervisor of Elections Mark Andersen said 11 ballots were accepted by email and 147 ballots were faxed in from domestic locations. Faxing is allowed, however, only for voters overseas.