Thursday, November 15, 2018
  • The Buzz
  • From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Closer and closer: Scott leads by .18 percent, DeSantis by .44

Three statewide elections in Florida are all close enough to require machine recounts, and two of them would require hand recounts of ballots, based on the latest results posted by the state Friday.

With Broward still counting early and mail ballots and Palm Beach County still counting mail ballots, Gov. Rick Scott holds a lead of .18 percent over Sen. Bill Nelson, or 15,074 votes.

Republican Ron DeSantis holds a lead of .44 percent over Democrat Andrew Gillum in the election for governor, or 36,211 votes.

Democrat Nikki Fried clings to a lead of .04 percent over Republican Matt Caldwell in the race for the Cabinet post of agriculture commissioner, or 2,915 votes.

Scott, President Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio and Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel all took to Twitter to blast the performance of Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes.

Standing on the steps of the Governor's Mansion Thursday night, Scott accused Snipes and Palm Beach election supervisor Susan Bucher, both Democrats, of trying to steal the election.

He cited past missteps by Snipes, all of them widely reported, but offered no evidence of election fraud, and ordered the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate Snipes.

FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen was personally chosen by Scott in 2015, even though the appointment is subject to approval by the three elected Cabinet members.

Without elaboration, Scott told reporters: "I am considering every single legal option available."

Scott can suspend Snipes or Bucher from office, but he has to cite evidence of malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty or incompetence. If that happens, Scott would appoint an interim elections supervisor.

Scott appeared on Sean Hannity's show on Fox Thursday night. Scott essentially repeated the same points he made earlier at the Governor's Mansion, and Hannity told Scott: "It is obviously corrupt. Obviously laws were broken … You won this race hands down. This is a disgrace."

Across the state, county canvassing boards will meet Friday to continue counting and rejecting provisional ballots. All counties have until noon Saturday to submit their first unofficial returns to Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who decides whether any or all of the three races meet the legal threshold for a machine recount.

Some counties are ready to start the machine recounts. In a conference call Thursday, they asked the state if they could begin the recounts now to save time.

'That's a great question," Division of Elections director Maria Matthews said. "The answer is no."

Comments
??Rick Scott appears in D.C. along with new GOP senators, despite the recount

??Rick Scott appears in D.C. along with new GOP senators, despite the recount

Even though his Senate race is in the middle of a recount, the governor was with new senators.
Updated: 5 hours ago
Judge considers Bill Nelson lawsuit to count votes with faulty signatures

Judge considers Bill Nelson lawsuit to count votes with faulty signatures

Florida's system of verifying signatures on mail and provisional ballots is under intense legal scrutiny.
Updated: 7 hours ago
Florida officials flag a possible violation of elections law by state Democrats

Florida officials flag a possible violation of elections law by state Democrats

The forms listed the wrong due date for voters to fix issues with their mail-in ballots.
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rick Scott wins suit against Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections

Rick Scott wins suit against Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections

Election watchers will now be allowed to stand inside the physical area where machine recounts are taking place.
Updated: 10 hours ago
Palm Beach recount further behind after machine malfunction

Palm Beach recount further behind after machine malfunction

There's uncertainty about meeting the Thursday deadline for a machine recount.
Updated: 10 hours ago
Broward County confident it will make Florida recount deadline

Broward County confident it will make Florida recount deadline

After starting the recount way after other counties, Broward is now optimistic about finishing on time.
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bill Nelson sues for fax, email voting records from Bay County

Bill Nelson sues for fax, email voting records from Bay County

The Bay County Supervisor of Elections has said he accepted some ballots by fax and email.
Updated: 10 hours ago
Judge Mark Walker is at the center of Florida recount legal fight

Judge Mark Walker is at the center of Florida recount legal fight

Several federal lawsuits are assigned to the federal judge.
Published: 11/14/18
Broward County elections supervisor says invalid ballots ‘were never counted’

Broward County elections supervisor says invalid ballots ‘were never counted’

She is trying to tamp down reports that she included invalid ballots in vote totals transmitted to the state over the weekend.
Published: 11/14/18
PolitiFact: Donald Trump and Rick Scott allege fraud in vote counting without any evidence

PolitiFact: Donald Trump and Rick Scott allege fraud in vote counting without any evidence

Both Scott and Trump have cast suspicion about the rising number of votes in the days following election night.
Published: 11/14/18