Fla. again deals with election controversy
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 purple state will learn Saturday whether there will be recounts in the tight U.S. Senate race between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and i ncumbent 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 punchcard ballots are no longer.
Yet, Scott and President Donald Trump on Friday alleged fraud without evi- dence, even as the oftenlaborious 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.
On Friday, Scott led by 0.21 percentage point, low enough to require a recount.
A recount is mandatory if the winning candidate’s margin is less than 0.5 percentage points when the first unofficial count is verified Saturday by Florida’s secretary of state. And if the margin is less than 0.25 percent, the recount must be done by hand.
In Washington, Trump took Scott’s side, telling reporters that the federal government could get involved and adding: “All of the sudden they are finding votes out of nowhere.”
While the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Friday there had been no allegations of fraud, Scott asked — but did not order — the agency to investigate the counties’ elections departments for possible fraud. Dr. Benda Snipes, supervisor of elections in Broward County, Fla., gives an update on the ballot count Thursday.