Monday, November 12, 2018

Florida Recount and Vote Fraud Allegations

Florida’s secretary of state ordered an official recount to begin today. Secretary of State Ken Detzner, a Republican, ordered the recount in both the Senate and gubernatorial races after the vote margin from the unofficial results that included absentee ballots was found to be within 0.5 percent. Under Florida law, less than 0.5 percent difference mandates a statewide machine recount of all ballots. There will also be a recount in the agriculture commissioner race.

Following Detzner’s announcement of the recount, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum rescinded his concession, saying, “I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every single vote” per CBS News.

Republican candidate Ron DeSantis responded, “With the election behind us, it's now time to come together as a state as we prepare to serve all Floridians. Since Tuesday night, that is what I have been doing and that is what I will continue to do in the days and weeks ahead.”

As of noon on Saturday, Republican candidates led the governor and Senate races while Democrat Nikki Fried led Republican Matt Caldwell in the Agriculture Commissioner race by 5,326 votes according to Florida Politics. DeSantis led Gillum by 33,864 votes while Republican Rick Scott led incumbent Democrat Senator Bill Nelson by 12,562 votes.

“Democrats would like nothing more than to rip victories away from Ron DeSantis, Rick Scott and Matt Caldwell,” said Christian Ziegler, a member of the Florida GOP Executive Board told Florida Politics. “As we’ve seen in Broward County, they will stop at nothing to win, including possibly violating the law.”

On Friday, Senator Marco Rubio (F-Fl.) tweeted an accusation that Broward County mishandled provisional ballots. Rubio said that Broward had included invalid provisional ballots in the vote totals that it submitted to the state, an accusation backed up by the Miami Herald.  

Rubio also tweeted about provisional ballot boxes found in Broward and speculated that the unguarded boxes could contain more ballots. An attorney for the county’s Supervisor of Elections, Brenda Snipes, told the Miami Herald that the boxes had previously contained ballots, but now contained only office supplies.

Alleging vote fraud, earlier this week Rick Scott sued to force Broward and Palm Beach Counties to allow campaign and party representatives to monitor ballot counting. By Saturday night, the Miami Herald reported that state observers form the Florida Division of Elections had seen no evidence of criminal activity.

In a machine recount, the county duplicates ballots that were damaged and all ballots are rescanned. If the numbers match up and the resulting margin is greater than 0.25 percent, the county certifies the results and submits them to the state. Undervotes and overvotes, ballots on which voters made too few or too many choices, are not counted the machine recount. If the margin is less than 0.25 percent after the machine recount, a hand recount of overvotes and undervotes only is ordered. The entire process could take several days. Additionally, overseas ballots can be accepted until Nov. 16.

In 2000, a recount of the presidential election votes in Florida also centered on Palm Beach and Broward Counties. That recount took 36 days to complete. Democrat Al Gore conceded to George W. Bush on Dec. 13.

So far there is no firm evidence of wrongdoing or improper activities in the handling of Florida ballots, but it is curious that recounts always seem to benefit Democrats. Even though some Republicans can still win elections after a recount, I can’t recall a single recount that left a Republican candidate with a better margin over their opponent than before the recount started.

Originally published on The Resurgent

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