TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott, who is facing a potential recount in the Florida US Senate race against Democratic US Senator Bill Nelson, claims that thousands of election ballots haven't been counted, more than 48-hours after polls closed.
Additionally, Scott announced that he will be suing the Broward County Supervisor of Elections and Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections over ballot counting, claiming that election officials are refusing to release public records. The two counties in question, are considered democratic strongholds in Florida.
Governor Scott, using his authority as Governor, says he is calling on Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the alleged fraud.
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Hearing in Palm Beach County
A court hearing was held Friday morning in Palm Beach County regarding the lawsuit.
Judge Krista Marx ordered Friday any ballot that the supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher or her staff throws out will need to go in front of the canvassing board.
Marx also ordered Bucher to provide a list by 4 p.m. of everyone who voted by provisional ballot.
As of Thursday evening, Scott leads Nelson by .2 percent. That margin is a bit smaller than from Election Night when Scott led by more than a half percent. Any result within .25 percent triggers an automatic hand recount.
Florida machine recounts are triggered when the margin between the candidates is below 0.5 of 1 percent.
The Florida secretary of state has not ordered a recount, and his office said that would not happen until canvassing boards return their unofficial returns on Nov. 10.
Following the announcement, Senator Bill Nelson's office released the following statement: “The goal here is to see that all the votes in Florida are counted and counted accurately. Rick Scott’s action appears to be politically motivated and borne out of desperation.”
→ Any voter who returned their vote-by-mail ballot can track online the status of his or her ballot through a link within the Division of Elections' Voter Information Lookup or through their county Supervisor of Elections' website. ←
Gretl Plessinger, a spokeswoman for the Florida law enforcement agency, said by phone Thursday night that the agency would follow up on the governor's request.
Broward Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes said she didn't know how many ballots remain to be counted, but all were being processed. She also did not know how many provisional, military and mismarked ballots need to be counted. Her department's website said ballots cast on Election Day have been counted.
President Donald Trump tweeted about the alleged election fraud on Thursday night, writing in part, "Florida voted for Rick Scott!"
Law Enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in #Broward and Palm Beach. Florida voted for Rick Scott!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2018
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum also responded to Scott following the press conference in a tweet, telling him to "count every vote."
Mr. @FLGovScott — counting votes isn't partisan — it's democracy.
Count every vote.
— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) November 9, 2018
Two emergency hearings are scheduled for Friday in Palm Beach County and Broward County. The Palm Beach County hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and the Broward County hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Over the weekend we will learn whether or not there will be an official recount.
Story developing, refresh for updates.