Florida vote counting drags on amid angry protests
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Fraud claims, angry protests and courtroom skirmishes spread Friday as vote counting dragged on in Broward and Palm Beach counties, drawing the nation’s ridicule back to Florida with shades of the infamous 2000 presidential recount.
Fueled by tweets from President Donald Trump, dozens of protesters stormed Broward County’s elections office, directing a chant of “lock her up” at Brenda Snipes, the county’s supervisor of elections. Demonstrators in Palm Beach County demanded that every vote be counted.
Facing a deadline of noon Saturday to submit the first unofficial results, canvassing board members continued to scrutinize provisional ballots well into the evening.
As of Friday night, an undetermined number of ballots remained to be counted in Palm Beach and Broward counties. Palm Beach County elections chief Susan Bucher said her county’s canvassing board could have the first unofficial votes in late Friday night, slightly ahead of the deadline.
The stakes are high with three statewide races likely headed for recounts.
In the closely watched race for U.S. Senate, Scott led Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson by 14,855 votes as of Friday night, a margin close enough to trigger a hand recount. The governor’s contest is close enough to warrant a machine recount with Republican Ron DeSantis holding a 36,002-vote lead over Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum. In the race for agriculture commissioner, Democrat Nikki Fried led Republican Matt Caldwell by 3,120 votes.
Machine recounts could start as early as Sunday morning and must be finished by Thursday.