It’s another day of recounting votes in Florida’s races for U.S. Senate, governor and state agriculture commissioner. The machine recounting in those three contests continues as Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi calls for criminal investigations into ”irregularities” in the vote counting and the handling of ballots in two South Florida counties.
Meanwhile, in a Monday morning Twitter post, President Donald Trump said an “honest” election is no longer possible in Florida,
“The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged,” Trump tweeted. “An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!”
The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2018
Bondi sent separate letters to Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen and Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who is Florida’s top election official, expressing concern about FDLE’s comments Friday that it is working with Detzner’s office and will investigate reports of cases of voter fraud but had not received any reports as of Friday. FDLE said an investigation had not been opened at that time.
“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 Swearingen.
She went on to tell Swearingen “to take the necessary steps to promote public safety and to ensure that our state will guarantee integrity in our elections process.”
In her letter to Detzner, Bondi called on the secretary to report “any indication creating a reasonable suspicion of potential criminal activity” to law enforcement.
The Scott campaign announced Sunday afternoon it had made additional court filings involving Broward and Palm Beach counties’ election officials. Rick Scott’s attorneys filed motions requesting “that FDLE and the Sheriff’s Office be required to impound and secure all voting machines, tallying devices and ballots when they are not in use until the conclusion of the recount.”
“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,” said Scott campaign spokesman Chris Hartline.”Senator-Elect Rick Scott will continue to fight to protect the will of Florida voters.”
“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, ” Sen. Bill Nelson said in a statement Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile, the recount in the governor’s race has seemed to revive the gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Andrew Gillum who on Saturday withdrew his concession he made in the race on election night.
“Let me say clearly, I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every single vote,” Gillum said Saturday.
His campaign has returned to releasing “public schedules” for Gillum who is scheduled to attend a “Faith in Democracy” event later today in Boynton Beach.
On Sunday, Gillum spoke at a church in Fort Lauderdale in which he demanded every vote be counted.
The unofficial returns from Tuesday’s election show that Republican Ron DeSantis leads Gillum by more than 33,000 vote, that’s less than 0.5 percentage points, which requires a machine recount of ballots.
In the Senate race, Scott’s lead over is less than 13,000 votes, or 15 percentage points, which is below the .25 percentage mark for triggering a hand recount if the machine recount confirms those numbers.. A hand recount would provide a more thorough review of the ballots and would involve determining whether ballots rejected by voting machines should have been counted.
Local elections officials have until 3 p.m. Thursday to submit their machine recount numbers to the state.