Florida vote recounts resurrect specter of 2000
LAUDERHILL, Fla. — Recount mania overtook Florida on Friday, harkening to the national drama of the 2000 presidential election as lawyers marched into court 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 Donald Trump, gathered outside the office of the Broward County supervisor of elections in Lauderhill, Fla., as the local canvassing board prepared to meet. The demonstrators called for the removal of Brenda C. 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 underway, Scott charged.
On Friday, Judge Krista Marx of the 15th Judicial Circuit 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; and the agriculture commissioner race, in which Nikki Fried, a Democrat, leads Matt Caldwell, a Republican, by 0.04 percentage points.