Deja vu for vote re­count vet­er­ans in Florida races

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - NATION - By Pa­tri­cia Mazzei Pa­tri­cia Mazzei is a New York Times writer.

LAUDER­HILL, Fla. — Re­count ma­nia over­took Florida on Fri­day, harken­ing to the na­tional drama of the 2000 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion as lawyers marched into courts on two ends of the state, protesters de­manded the ouster of a lo­cal elec­tions of­fi­cial in the state’s sec­ond-largest county and a trickle of bal­lots con­tin­ued to be tal­lied.

Protesters, many of them car­ry­ing signs sup­port­ive of Pres­i­dent Trump, gath­ered out­side the of­fice of the Broward County su­per­vi­sor of elec­tions in Lauder­hill as the lo­cal can­vass­ing board pre­pared to meet. The demon­stra­tors called for the re­moval of Brenda Snipes, an elected Demo­crat whose of­fice has a his­tory of prob­lem­atic elec­tions, chant­ing, “Lock her up!”

On Twit­ter, the pres­i­dent ac­cused Democrats of send­ing “their best elec­tion steal­ing lawyer” to Broward County.

“Don’t worry, Florida — I am send­ing much bet­ter lawyers to ex­pose the FRAUD!” Trump wrote.

The pres­i­dent and protesters echoed Gov. Rick Scott, the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee for Se­nate, who late Thurs­day sued Snipes and an­other elected Demo­crat, elec­tions su­per­vi­sor Su­san Bucher of neigh­bor­ing Palm Beach County, ac­cus­ing them of fail­ing to trans­par­ently re­port vot­ing re­sults. “Ram­pant fraud” was un­der way, Scott charged.

On Fri­day, Judge Krista Marx, a state court judge in Palm Beach County, granted a re­quest by Scott’s lawyer that any bal­lot deemed de­fec­tive by lo­cal elec­tions of­fi­cials make its way to the can­vass­ing board for a fi­nal de­ter­mi­na­tion of its va­lid­ity.

Sen. Bill Nel­son, Scott’s op­po­nent, and the Demo­cratic Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee of Florida filed a law­suit of their own in fed­eral court, chal­leng­ing the pro­ce­dures for de­ter­min­ing which voter sig­na­tures should count on dis­puted mail-in or pro­vi­sional bal­lots.

Florida’s 67 coun­ties must sub­mit un­of­fi­cial re­sults to the state by noon Sat­ur­day. At that point, Sec­re­tary of State Ken Det­zner, an ap­pointee of Scott, must or­der ma­chine re­counts for races with a mar­gin of 0.5 per­cent­age points or less. Three statewide races cur­rently fall un­der that thresh­old: the Se­nate race, in which Scott leads Nel­son by 0.18 per­cent­age points; the gover­nor’s race, in which Ron DeSan­tis, a Repub­li­can, leads An­drew Gil­lum, a Demo­crat, by 0.44 per­cent­age points; and the agri­cul­ture com­mis­sioner race, in which Nikki Fried, a Demo­crat, leads Matt Cald­well, a Repub­li­can, by 0.04 per­cent­age points.

Scott Mcintyre / New York Times

Sup­port­ers of Repub­li­can gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date Ron DeSan­tis protest in Lauder­hill at the of­fice of Brenda Snipes, a Demo­crat who is su­per­vi­sor of elec­tions for Broward County.

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