Judge: Sides in Florida recount should ‘ramp down’ rhetoric

Clay Curtis
November 13, 2018

More than half of Florida's 67 counties began a recount process that's unprecedented even in a state notorious for settling elections by razor-thin margins. He also asked the judge to require both officials to preserve all ballots related to the 2018 elections. Numerous outstanding ballots could be from overseas military personnel, who can have their ballots counted as long as they arrive by Friday and were postmarked by November 6, and it's hardly unusual for votes in many states to be counted after Election Day.

Saying there's no practical reason for the statutory deadlines that counties face to do machine and hand recounts of last week's election, Democratic U.S. Sen.

The governor's race also has tightened, with DeSantis, a staunch ally of President Trump, ahead of Gillum by 0.41 percent. Secretary of State Ken Detzner ordered recounts on Saturday after the deadline for elections officers to submit unofficial results. In the Senate race, Scott's lead over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson was 0.14 percentage points.

Scott's campaign and the Republican National Committee issued statements saying Gillum and Nelson should give up and decline the recounts.

Scott's lawsuit targeted election supervisors in Democratic-leaning Broward and Palm Beach counties.

"No ragtag group of liberal activists or lawyers from DC will be allowed to steal this election", Scott told Fox News on Sunday morning, shortly before he launched a trio of new lawsuits. Bill Nelson, has already won two lawsuits he's filed. "He's been in politics way too long". "That is what the democratic process is about", said Gillum.

The recount opens against a backdrop of political tensions.

Trump, who campaigned for Kemp, weighed in on the Georgia election as well on Friday, sarcastically suggesting on Twitter that Russian President Vladimir Putin should be blamed for any missing votes in the state.

That didn't stop protests outside Snipes' office, where a crowd of mostly Republicans gathered, holding signs, listening to country music and occasionally chanting "lock her up", referring to Snipes.

Chris Chambless, the supervisor of elections in Clay County, said rather than use high-speed scanners, 60 volunteers will be brought in to feed the ballots into the same machines that were used at the precincts on Election Day.

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Broward County was supposed to start its recount at 7 a.m. Sunday, cranking out recounts in 24-hour shifts from its Lauderhill facility.

In a video statement released Saturday, DeSantis said the election results were "clear and unambiguous" and that he was preparing to become the state's next governor.

"Because there is so much going on in the public domain, I believe there needs to be some additional way of instilling confidence that votes are being protected", Tuter said.

"It is important that everyone involved in the election process strictly adhere to the rule of law which is the foundation for our nation", he said.

If either side objects to a counting team's decision or the team can't make one, the ballot will be forwarded to the county's canvassing board, with the three members voting on the final decision.

But Florida's Department of State said last week that it had seen "no evidence of criminal activity at this time" in Broward County.

The scene recalled the 2000 presidential recount, when it took more than five weeks for Florida to declare George W. Bush the victor over Vice President Al Gore by 537 votes, and thus giving Bush the presidency.

Ceasar added that the GOP lawsuits are a "form of voter suppression, in futuristically", because they have the potential to undermine voters' trust in the electoral system and depress engagement. And how counts proceed is now clearly spelled out.

This legal wrangling took place as automatic recounts got underway in three statewide races.

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