Prospect of another recount in Florida sparks protests
fears that he will lose the election if all the votes are counted,” Nelson said in a video released Friday. “... Votes are not being found. They’re being counted.”
As of Friday afternoon, Scott had a lead over Nelson of just more than 16,000 votes, or 0.19 percent, according to the Associated Press. In the governor’s race, Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum,, trailed former Republlican Don DeSantis by more than 36,000 votes, or 0.45 percent.
Under Florida law, a statewide machine recount is conducted when the margin of victory is less than 0.5 percent, and a manual recount is ordered if the margin is less than 0.25 percent.
A lawyer for Nelson, Marc Elias, said in a call with reporters Friday that the canvass underway in Broward and elsewhere in Florida is a “feature, not a flaw, of our democratic system” to ensure that all valid votes are counted. He accused Republicans of falsely claiming voter fraud simply because the margin had changed.
“The lead is just over 15,000 votes now, which seemed to cause the governor to hold an impromptu news conference to acknowledge the shrinking state of the margin,” Elias said.
Both campaigns also went to court, allowing Scott to claim two quick victories Friday, when a judge ordered officials in Palm Beach County to open their canvass to public inspection, and another judge ordered Broward officials to release documents the governor had demanded.
Nelson’s suit seeks to re-examine absentee and provisional ballots when signatures on the ballots don’t match voter registration records.
In Georgia last month, a federal judge ordered local election officials to stop throwing out ballots because of signature issues.
The Scott campaign lashed back. “Their desperation has driven them to ask the federal courts to allow voter fraud,” campaign manager Jackie Schutz Zeckman said. “They are asking courts to overrule election officials and accept ballots that were not legally cast.”
Reports have poured in from voters complaining that their ballots were improperly rejected; one came from Patrick Murphy, a former Democratic congressman from Palm Beach, who tweeted: “Just saw notice from @PBCounty that my absentee ballot wasn’t counted due to ‘invalid signature’ match. Should be +1 @ NelsonForSenate @AndrewGillum. Must overhaul these ridiculous barriers to voting.”
In Georgia, the closely fought governor’s contest has prompted Democrats to accuse Republican contender Brian Kemp of misconduct.
Kemp served as secretary of state until Thursday and was a champion of new voting laws that Democrats say disenfranchised thousands of voters, most of them minorities.
Supporters of Democrat Stacey Abrams scrambled Friday to force a runoff by helping voters validate their provisional ballots.
Protesters confront each other outside the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office on Friday in Lauderhill, Fla. According to reports, both the gubernatorial and Senate races were separated by less than half a percentage point.