Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio on Thursday charged that two Democrat-controlled counties within the state, in potential violation of election legislation, have been reporting a “gradual drip” of tens of 1000’s of extra ballots favorable to a number of Democratic candidates for statewide workplace, together with incumbent Sen. Invoice Nelson.
Liberal legal professionals, he stated, are “descending on” the state in a calculated try to “change the outcomes” and “attempt to steal” races for Senate and agriculture commissioner.
“Florida legislation requires counties report early voting & vote-by-mail inside 30 minutes after polls shut,” Rubio wrote on Twitter. “43 hours after polls closed 2 Democrat strongholds #BrowardCounty & #PalmBeachCounty are nonetheless counting & refusing to reveal what number of ballots they’ve left to depend.”
Florida statutes mandate that the “canvassing board shall report all early voting and all tabulated vote-by-mail outcomes to the Division of State inside 30 minutes after the polls shut” and that “thereafter, the canvassing board shall report, aside from provisional poll outcomes, up to date precinct election outcomes to the division not less than each 45 minutes till all outcomes are utterly reported.”
“Democrat legal professionals are descending on Florida. … They aren’t right here to verify each vote is counted.”
The state code continues, “The supervisor of elections shall notify the division instantly of any circumstances that don’t allow periodic updates as required.”
GOP Senate candidate Rick Scott, additionally Florida’s governor, was forward of Nelson by roughly one-fourth of 1 share level as of Thursday morning, in keeping with The Tampa Bay Instances, which stated the agriculture commissioner candidates are separated by solely 0.06 factors.
Within the carefully watched gubernatorial race, Ron DeSantis’ held a slender 0.52-percentage-point edge over Democrat Andrew Gillum as of Thursday morning, extraordinarily near the 0.5 p.c threshold wanted to set off a machine recount. Gillum has conceded the race, however his determination is nonbinding.
However by Thursday afternoon, unofficial figures had DeSantis up by simply 38,515 votes out of the greater than 8 million solid — a lead of simply 0.47 p.c, low sufficient to set off a compulsory recount, in keeping with The Tallahassee Democrat.
With out offering legally enough justification, Rubio stated, Democrat-controlled Broward and Palm Seashore counties on Wednesday afternoon continued to report new ballots, reducing into Scott’s already-thin lead and flipping the state’s agriculture commissioner race to Democrats. Provisional ballots solid by voters with out correct identification or on the flawed location are factoring into the late outcomes, and Florida officers have rejected campaigns’ requests for the identification of these voters, citing federal and state legislation.
Palm Seashore County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher advised Fox Information that Palm Seashore continues to be counting about 2,000 mail-in ballots the place voters circled or highlighted (by drawing an arrow pointing on the candidate’s title) their selection, as an alternative of filling within the acceptable bubbles.
Beneath Florida legislation, the elections division is allowed to find out voter intent. Bucher advised Fox Information that elections division employees goes via every of the two,000 mail-in ballots, and the place voter intent is decided, a employee is filling in a brand new poll on behalf of the voter. The place voter intent can’t be decided, the poll is distributed to the canvassing board to bear evaluation.
Elections officers are additionally reviewing 1,500 army and abroad ballots that are nonetheless being counted. Beneath Florida legislation, the army can mail or fax their ballots in. A provisional vote report is due in Tallahassee on Saturday by midday.
FOX NEWS ANALYSIS: FLORIDA RACES ARE TIGHT, TIGHT, TIGHT
“#Broward election supervisors ongoing violation of #Florida legislation requiring well timed reporting isn’t simply annoying incompetence,” Rubio wrote. “It has opened the door for legal professionals to return right here & attempt to steal a seat within the U.S. Senate & Florida Cupboard.”
Broward county election officers didn’t instantly return Fox Information’ request for remark.
Rubio: added: “Now democrat legal professionals are descending on #Florida. They’ve been very clear they aren’t right here to verify each vote is counted. – They’re right here to alter the outcomes of election; & – #Broward is the place they plan to do it.”
Beneath Florida legislation, if the margin in any race hits 0.25 p.c or decrease, a guide recount of any ballots put aside from the machine recount shall be ordered — harking back to the scene within the 2000 presidential election, when the nation was gripped by pictures of ballot staff counting votes deciphering hanging chads by hand.
The Supreme Courtroom voted by a 7-2 majority that Florida’s recount in that race violated the Equal Safety Clause of the Structure as a result of every nation and precinct adopted various requirements for the way it would conduct the recount. By a 5-Four vote, the Supreme Courtroom ended the recount on different grounds.
Rubio made clear he has no confidence within the integrity of South Florida’s election officers, suggesting a posssible GOP-led court docket problem is likely to be looming.
“A U.S. Senate seat & a statewide cupboard officer at the moment are probably within the palms of an elections supervisor with a historical past of incompetence & of blatant violations of state & federal legal guidelines,” he wrote, linking to a Miami Herald article describing a number of scandals which have gripped Broward County’s Elections Division.
Earlier this 12 months, a decide discovered that Broward Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes had illegally destroyed ballots in a 2016 congressional contest, main the governor’s workplace to assign election displays to oversee her.
“I feel the issues are blown out of proportion,” Snipes stated in October, in an interview with The Miami Herald. “Broward is nitpicked to the bone. Different locations have the identical issues, completely different issues. It’s simply that they aren’t spotlighted like we’re.”
Fox Information’ Ivonne Amor contributed to this report.