Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Rick Scott, Bill Nelson spar over Broward, Palm Beach vote counting

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| 10 November, 2018, 07:41

So far, new ballots pouring in have narrowed Scott's lead over incumbent Democratic Sen.

At a court hearing on Friday morning in Palm Beach County, Judge Krista Marx ordered that "any ballot that the supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher or her staff throws out will need to go in front of the canvassing board", NBC affiliate WPTV reported. Phillips found that Snipes violated that law by failing to turn over the information to attorneys for Scott's Senate campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Both campaigns filed lawsuits Thursday. The suit also alleges failure to follow state law regarding "overvoted" and "undervoted" absentee ballots, where a voter selects too many candidates or not candidates.

President Trump himself has gone after Snipes, telling reporters Friday, "She has had a terrible history ... and all of a sudden they're finding votes out of nowhere".

Department spokeswoman Gretl Pelssinger said Friday that the agency is working with the Department of State and will investigate any allegations of elections fraud, but right now there are no such allegations. During a press conference Thursday night, Scott said, "The people of Florida deserve fairness and transparency, and the supervisors are failing to give it to us". Trump tweets: "Law Enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in #Broward and Palm Beach".

Before leaving for Paris to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI on Friday, Mr Trump told reporters he believes Mr Scott clearly won the election.

Nonetheless, Scott has openly suggested the officials were attempting to fraudulently win the election for Nelson.

The Senate race in Arizona between two USA congresswomen, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally, appeared days away from a final call with hundreds of thousands of ballots yet to be tallied.

Former Rep. Patrick Murphy of Palm Beach Gardens, a Democrat, reported on Twitter to Politico's Marc Caputo that his ballot was not counted because of an "invalid signature" match. They also asked for the Saturday deadline to be extended. Snipes was accused of destroying the physical ballots while saving digital copies as the lawsuit was pending - a violation of a federal statute requiring congressional ballots be saved for 22 months after an election.

Scott's campaign wasted no time in responding to Elias, charging in a statement that Nelson and his lawyers are conducting "fraud" in fighting the current results.


Of that experience, Elias said to RollCall of watching Franken get sworn in, "It was a very emotional thing".

Earlier, Trump had a lot to say about Broward County's elections process as a whole. Florida's secretary of state will verify the first unofficial count Saturday.

Only about 15,000 votes separate the candidates.

The Florida Senate race still hasn't been called and Democrat Sen. The machine recount could begin that same day, with the results due by November 15.

Nelson didn't concede defeat in Tuesday's election, even after Scott declared victory, and has called for a recount.

Mr Trump weighed in with a tweet on the Senate race, citing the possibility of election fraud.

While Gillum and Nelson did concede their races, that is done as a courtesy and is not legally binding.

State law mandates a recount if the difference in a race is within 0.5 percent.

And in Arizona, where votes are still being counted and Democrat Krysten Sinema on Friday held the lead by a tenth of a percent, Trump claimed they are "all of a sudden" finding votes "out of the wilderness".

Undecided races in Tuesday's midterm USA elections are keeping the states of Florida, Georgia and Arizona on edge.

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