Where there’s smoke there’s often fire, and there’s an awfully lot of smoke billowing out of Broward County, Florida, these days.
With a 3 p.m. deadline set for Thursday, Florida’s 67 counties were required to submit machine recounts on several races, including the governor’s race and the U.S. Senate race, and the same two Democratic-controlled counties that have been at the center of all the controversy over extracurricular voting failed to make the deadline, along with one other county.
“On a day when a federal judge said Florida is the ‘laughingstock of the world election after election,’ all but three of the state’s 67 counties met the recount deadline,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Hillsborough and Palm Beach counties failed to complete machine recounts of their midterm election ballots by the 3 p.m. Thursday deadline and Broward missed it by just two minutes.”
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) November 16, 2018
Citing broken down machines, Palm Beach County didn’t make much effort to get to the finish line, while Broward raced to the deadline and actually finished the recount before 3 p.m.
But in a display of incompetence so egregious it’s hard to believe it wasn’t planned, Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes supiciously turned the new figures in two minutes after the deadline, Judicial Watch reported:
A Judicial Watch investigative team is on the ground monitoring the debacle in south Florida and attorneys were present in Broward until the recount was completed just minutes before the clock ran out. However, the county uploaded the results two minutes too late which means the state will likely stick to the original tallies submitted on Saturday.
Why is this so egregious?
Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson, gained an additional 779 votes in the recount.
Scott saw an initial lead of around 60,000 votes on election night dwindle all the way down to just over 12,000, thanks in large part to Broward and Palm Beach submitting votes after the polls closed.
And with the potential to add to that lead, Snipes sent the numbers late and Florida law stipulates that when the deadline is missed the last unofficial count is then used — meaning the tardiness cost Scott 779 votes.
Lawsuits have been flying as a desperate Nelson and his lawyers looking “to steal an election,” as described by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., try to circumvent election laws to scratch up 12,000 votes.
Meanwhile, Gov. Scott traveled to Washington D.C., this week to attend new member orientation.
A warm welcome to the incoming class of Republican Senators. pic.twitter.com/yNcqWvX0qp
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) November 14, 2018
He also responded to the machine recount, which saw him gain nearly 1,000 votes — minus Broward County, to again call on Nelson to concede.
“With the statewide machine recount finished, our margin of victory has increased by nearly 1000 votes.
@SenBillNelson, it’s time to admit this race is over,” he tweeted.
With the statewide machine recount finished, our margin of victory has increased by nearly 1000 votes. @SenBillNelson, it’s time to admit this race is over.
— Rick Scott (@ScottforFlorida) November 15, 2018
With Scott’s lead of 12,603 votes a slim margin of 0.15-percentage points, the recount automatically triggers a hand recount next.
As a result of the machine recount, Republican Ron DeSantis still holds a 33,683 vote lead over Democratic candidate and media darling Andrew Gillum, who gained just a single vote in the recount.
With a margin of 0.41 percent, the difference is high enough under state law to avoid a mandatory manual recount, which effectively ends the race — USA Today called it for DeSantis.
Gillum, who has not filed any legal action yet and has no other play, refused to throw the towel in.
“A vote denied is justice denied — the State of Florida must count every legally cast vote,” Gillum said. “As today’s unofficial reports and recent court proceedings make clear, there are tens of thousands of votes that have yet to be counted. We plan to do all we can to ensure that every voice is heard in this process.”
Except the 779 voices in Broward County who voted for Rick Scott.
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