Fla. again at cen­ter of elec­tion dis­pute

The Detroit News - - Trump Administration - BY BREN­DAN FARRINGTON As­so­ci­ated Press

Fort Laud­erdale, Fla. – Florida is once again at the cen­ter of elec­tion con­tro­versy, but this year there are no hang­ing chads or but­ter­fly bal­lots like in 2000. And no an­gry mobs in suits – at least not yet.

The deeply pur­ple state will learn Sat­ur­day whether there will be re­counts in the bit­ter and tight U.S. Se­nate race be­tween Repub­li­can Gov. Rick Scott and in­cum­bent Demo­crat Bill Nel­son; and in the gover­nor’s race be­tween for­mer Repub­li­can U.S. Rep. Ron DeSan­tis and the Demo­cratic mayor of Tal­la­has­see, An­drew Gil­lum.

The state’s re­count pro­ce­dures have been re­vised since Florida held the coun­try hostage for a month 18 years ago, when Ge­orge W. Bush edged Al Gore for the pres­i­dency. Among other things, the in­fa­mous punch-card bal­lots are no longer.

Yet, Scott and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Fri­day al­leged fraud with­out ev­i­dence, even as the of­ten-la­bo­ri­ous process of re­view­ing bal­lots in a close race con­tin­ued ahead of the Sat­ur­day noon dead­line. Both Scott and Nel­son sought to get the courts to in­ter­vene.

Scott said “un­eth­i­cal lib­er­als” were try­ing to steal the elec­tion in Demo­cratic strongholds of Broward and Palm Beach County. He sug­gested some­thing was awry be­cause vote-coun­ters were tak­ing longer there than in other ju­ris­dic­tions, and his thin lead has kept nar­row­ing since Elec­tion Night. On Fri­day, he led by 0.21 per­cent­age point, low enough to re­quire a re­count.

Nel­son lawyer Marc Elias said Scott was us­ing his of­fi­cial po­si­tion to try to in­flu­ence the elec­tion.

“He him­self said that as bal­lots are be­ing counted, it is tight­en­ing,” Elias said.

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