While the midterm elections took lace on Tuesday, the outcome in Florida is being held hostage by two Democrat-run counties that can’t count straight.
In what proved to be a slow drip, the results of Tuesday’s election was being altered as Broward and Palm Beach counties were still finding ballots two days later, and a tight lead by Republicans in the Senate and gubernatorial races continued to shrink.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who defeated incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson by nearly 60,000 votes saw that lead drop all the way down to just over 15,000 votes, and Ron DeSantis saw his lead over media darling Andrew Gillum in the gubernatorial race shrink to 36,333 — enough to trigger a recount.
Meanwhile, the first flip had already occurred, with Democrat candidate Nikki Fried overcoming a deficit of around 4,000 votes to take the lead over the apparent winner, Republican Matt Caldwell, in the race for state Commissioner of Agriculture
NEW NUMBERS: As of 7:15pm, Democrat @nikkifried's lead in the FL ag commissioner race has grown to 2,841 votes (+2,300 from earlier today). @RonDeSantisFL's lead in #flgov is shrinking and now stands at 36,333 votes. And @FLGovScott's lead over @SenBillNelson is down to 15,175.
— Troy Kinsey (@TroyKinsey) November 9, 2018
Amid the incompetence — out of 67 counties, these were the only two still counting — it was reported that an elementary school teacher found a box labeled “Provisional Ballots” that had been left behind at a Broward County school, according to Politico’s Marc Caputo.
In Broward County, Miramar Elementary School teacher Lakeisha Sorey came across a box labeled “Provisional ballots” left behind at the school from Election Day & she’s concerned it might have votes. She didn’t look in the box because she didn’t want to tamper with it pic.twitter.com/x8WOa8tfKz
— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) November 8, 2018
Sorey said she spotted the box before leaving school about 4 p.m. She spoke to her principal who advised her not to touch it. She also spoke later to a state rep who referred her to me
— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) November 8, 2018
Broward County, which has a history of elections shenanigans, was still finding ballots Thursday evening with Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda Snipes refusing to say how many ballots were left to be counted.
Nothing new, according to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
What’s happening in #BrowardCounty happened just last August,albeit on a smaller scale.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) November 8, 2018
Snipes’ disposition suddenly improved after Gov. Rick Scott, who spoke of “rampant fraud,” asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate during a late night press conference and announced that he has filed a lawsuit against Snipes.
“I will not stand idly by while unethical liberals try to steal an election,” a furious Scott declared.
“Late Tuesday night, our win was projected to be around 57,000 votes,” the governor noted. “By Wednesday morning, that lead dropped to 38,000. By Wednesday evening, it was around 30,000. This morning, it was around 21,000. Now, it is 15,000.”
“On election night, Broward County said there were 634,000 votes cast,” he added. “At 1 a.m. today, there were 695,700 ballots cast on election day. At 2:30 p.m. today, the number was up to 707,223 ballots cast on Election Day. And we just learned, that the number has increased to 712,840 ballots cast on Election Day. In Palm Beach County, there are 15,000 new votes found since election night.”
Lo and behold, after Scott’s remarks, the extracurricular counting in Broward quickly reached bottom.
“Dr. Snipes said Broward is done counting all votes except for military/overseas and provisional,” Miami Herald’s Alex Harris reported less than an hour after the presser.
Dr. Snipes said Broward is done counting all votes except for military/overseas and provisional. Here’s the change in Broward’s reported votes since 4:30pm, as tracked by @ceostroff pic.twitter.com/jeXIvXzMot
— Alex Harris (@harrisalexc) November 9, 2018
Earlier this year a circuit court judge ruled that Snipes broke federal and state law by destroying ballots from the August 2016 primaries while there was a pending lawsuit seeking access to the ballots.
A Sun Sentinel reporter said Broward elections officials claimed the boxes marked for provisional ballots are used to transport supplies — which speaks to the overall incompetence at play — with the actual ballots being transported in “a separate orange zipper bag.”
Broward elections office says this is what would be in sealed "provisional ballot box" found left at Miramar elementary school. Ballots are delivered in a separate orange zipper bag. pic.twitter.com/h3zdgJFTyZ
— Larry Barszewski (@lbarszewski) November 9, 2018
Adding to the troubling events taking place in South Florida, to include what appears to be violations of state election laws, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., took note of a video that “purports to show Broward County ballots being transported from polling places in private cars.”
This video,posted by an Independent Cong candidate in 18 (who was endorsed by Bernie Sanders in 16) purports to show BrowardCounty ballots being transported from polling places in private cars.
Has anyone in local media looked into this claim or asked elections dept about it? https://t.co/1JztfdRudn
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) November 9, 2018
The candidate, Tim Conova, was the same candidate involved in the ballots Snipes destroyed — he was challenging Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Conova tweeted: “Caught On Video: Concerned citizen sees ballots being transported in private vehicles & transferred to rented truck on Election night. This violates all chain of custody requirements for paper ballots. Were the ballots destroyed & replaced by set of fake ballots? Investigate now!”
The video was taken by Florida voter JoAnn Knox, who shared it on Facebook, along with her account of events.
“It was crazy,” Knox added. “What struck me the most was the total lack of ‘chain of custody.'”
“As I turned away from them and headed out to the parking lot, I noticed there was a truck at the far end of the parking lot,” she said, noting that an official has already told her the truck had left. “I then noticed a long line of cars lined up leading to that truck.”
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