Judge: Sides in Florida recount should ‘ramp down’ rhetoric

Florida Gov. Rick Scott center speaks at a campaign rally in Orlando on Sept. 18. Associated Press  John Raoux file

Florida Gov. Rick Scott center speaks at a campaign rally in Orlando on Sept. 18. Associated Press John Raoux file

Since Election Day last Tuesday, Trump has repeatedly made unsubstantiated allegations about the vote counts in Florida, claiming that officials are making up votes.

The populous and heavily Democratic Broward County is a key area for Nelson if he is to overcome Scott's lead. Politico's Marc Caputo reports that the Broward County elections supervisor will likely get suspended by either current governor Rick Scott or incoming governor Ron DeSantis as soon as the recount concludes.

Broward officials faced further headaches after they acknowledged the county mistakenly counted 22 absentee ballots that had been rejected.

Rick Scott's request for law enforcement to seize and monitor ballots and voting equipment has been shot down by a judge. Unofficially DeSantis leads Gillum by 0.41 percentage points.

On Monday, a lawyer for Nelson filed a lawsuit against the Florida Department of State in an effort to get vote-by-mail ballots, that were postmarked before Election Day but not delivered before polls closed, counted.

Suspending Snipes from office would put a final exclamation point on one of the most contested midterms in recent Florida history, which has resulted in three statewide recounts - for U.S. Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner - as well as recounts in three local legislative races.

The fact that Trump and Scott "are fighting like you know what to stop the vote count, that ought to tell you something", Gillum said.

Democrat Stacey Abrams has little hope of catching him but has not conceded because provision ballots to be counted this week could at least bring Mr. Kemp below the 50 percent mark, which would force the race into a December 4 runoff.

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The Florida secretary of state ordered the recounts Saturday.

Florida law states that if a county fails to turn in its recount totals by the deadline, the results already on file will be used. Scott's attorney Jason Zimmerman also referred to a 2016 congressional race when Snipes violated state and federal laws by destroying ballots.

The intensifying feud comes 18 years after the Sunshine State found itself at the heart of a battle for the USA presidency, when George W. Bush prevailed over Al Gore after recounts were halted by the Supreme Court. In such cases, a machine tally may suggest that the voter merely skipped a contest or marked more than one selection. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) in the burgeoning Florida voting scandal objected in a public hearing to tossing out a provisional ballot from a noncitizen.

Nelson's campaign is also gearing up for a legal challenge that could, perhaps more than any recount, lead to a fundamental shakeup of the race.

Scott appeared Monday on Fox News' "Fox & Friends" to discuss his next steps, saying, "We won the election".

Once calibration tests are completed on the ballot scanning machines, vote-counting will continue round the clock. Angry protesters gathered at an elections office in Broward County on Saturday, waving signs and shouting with bullhorns. A massive Trump 2020 flag flew over the parking lot and a Bikers For Trump group wore matching shirts. "I've had to win this election twice now".

"Because there is so much going on in the public domain, I believe there needs to be some additional way of instilling confidence that votes are being protected", Tuter said.

In 2000, each county had its own voting system. Snipes said it would be unfair to throw out all the ballots. Those hanging and dimpled chads had to be examined by the canvassing boards, a lengthy, tiresome and often subjective process that became fodder for late-night comedians. That has changed, with the Legislature passing a clear procedure on how a recount should be conducted. For example, some voters circle the candidate's name instead of filling in the ballot properly and some cross out their vote and then mark another candidate.

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