In Chaotic Fla. Election, 'Something Looks Weird' in One County

Gubernatorial, US Senate races may go to recounts in Sunshine State
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2018 8:40 AM CST
Florida Voting Drama Continues, With Election 'Deja Vu'
In this July 13, 2018, file photo, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, speaks to Cuban-American supporters at a campaign stop in Hialeah, Fla.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

Election Day has come and gone, but the drama continues in Florida, where the books have not yet been completely closed on both the race for governor and US Senate. The Sun Sentinel notes "fraud claims, angry protests. and courtroom skirmishes," specifically in Broward and Palm Beach counties. As of Friday night, GOP Gov. Rick Scott led the incumbent senator, Democrat Bill Nelson, by 14,855 votes, which would qualify for a hand recount, while Democrat Andrew Gillum trailed Republican Ron DeSantis by just over 36,000 votes in the gubernatorial race, which would call for a machine recount. More on the ongoing tumult in the Sunshine State:

  • How would a recount work in Florida? The Wall Street Journal offers a primer, noting the state's 67 counties must serve up their unofficial counts by Saturday at noon. If any races have a victory margin of 0.5% or less of the total votes counted, a recount is triggered.
  • Per NBC News, Gillum is expected to hold a press conference Saturday to address his race against DeSantis and the narrowing gap between the two as more ballots are tallied.
  • The Orlando Sentinel has "dueling statements" from Nelson and Scott, with Scott alleging a "clear violation of Florida law" and "unethical liberals," while Nelson asserts "this process is about one thing: making sure that every legal ballot is counted and protecting the right of every Floridian to participate in our democracy."
  • Per CBS News and CBS Miami, Scott has already secured a few legal victories, including getting a Broward County judge to agree to "allow immediate" viewing and copying of ballots for review.

  • President Trump had previously made his opinion known on the US Senate race in Florida, tweeting Thursday night: "Law Enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in #Broward and Palm Beach. Florida voted for Rick Scott!" Per CNN, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement pushed back on that Friday, noting it's not actively investigating anything related to the election.
  • Something "weird" is happening in Broward County, per FiveThirtyEight: Many voters there didn't cast a vote for the US Senate seat, "way out of line with every other county in Florida." The site wonders if it has to do with a badly designed ballot, or possibly malfunctioning ballot-counting machines.
  • The New York Times cites a feeling of "déjà vu" in the "land of recounts and contested elections," specifically pointing at the chaos surrounding the faceoff between Al Gore and George W. Bush in 2000. Time, meanwhile, looks ahead to 2020 and what this could all mean for that election.
  • A couple of other states are still dealing with their own high-profile election drama. Votes are still being counted in Arizona, where US Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema has widened her lead against Martha McSally (Sinema was up more than 20,000 votes by Friday evening, per Politico). And in Georgia, Stacey Abrams is still holding tight in the hopes for a gubernatorial runoff against Brian Kemp, per the Savannah Morning News. Uncounted ballots continued to be counted Friday night, with all counties required to certify vote totals by Tuesday evening.
"Votes are coming out of nowhere," Scott had complained in filing one of his complaints. More here. (More Election 2018 stories.)

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