The Slatest

Republicans’ Attempts at Interfering With the Florida Recounts Seem to Be Failing

A Broward County election official arranges ballots for a recount.
A device is used to straighten ballots before machine counting during a recount at the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office in Lauderhill, Florida, on Nov. 11. Joe Skipper/Getty Images

After a week of unfounded claims of fraud, confusion over how many votes were left to be counted, weird ballot designs, protests, and lawsuits, the Florida vote tally process seems to be making steady progress, unimpeded by those attempting to derail it.

A judge dismissed one of Gov. Rick Scott’s lawsuits Tuesday, saying she did not have the authority to order the Palm Beach County sheriff to personally secure voting machines and ballots in Palm Beach County while they weren’t being used in the recount, as Scott requested.

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw testified, according to local station WPTV, that “he has multiple deputies in the front and back of the tabulation center in Riviera Beach, and one deputy at the Supervisor of Elections Office on Military Trail. Bradshaw said the deputies are in sight of the machines and are visibly able to observe the recount process.” The judge said that there were no signs of fraud or improper behavior by election officials: “Everything is safe and secure. We’re following the guidelines that I’m statutorily required to follow and that’s what we’re going to continue to do for a reasonable time period.”

This came after Broward County’s chief judge on Monday told attorneys and supporters of Scott and Nelson “to ramp down the rhetoric” and that if “someone in this lawsuit or someone in this county has evidence of voter fraud or irregularities, they should report it to local law enforcement.” The judge was rejecting a request by the Scott campaign, like the one in Palm Beach, to have ballots and voting machines impounded.

While Scott and many national Republican leaders, including President Donald Trump, have accused Florida Democrats of everything from sloppy vote counting to outright fraud, Florida government officials have been more circumspect. Neither Florida’s secretary of state nor its state law enforcement has recognized any evidence of criminal fraud by voters or election officials.

Florida’s Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi wrote a letter to the state’s Department of Law Enforcement saying she was “deeply troubled” that the agency had not pursued Scott’s request for an investigation into what he said was potential voter fraud in the Senate election. The agency’s commissioner, Rick Swearingen, replied by saying he was “deeply troubled” that she implied he would ignore evidence of voter fraud and assured her that he was coordinating with Florida’s secretary of state.

Meanwhile, back in Broward County, elections supervisor Brenda Snipes, in reaction to Republicans’ charge that Democrats were “finding votes,” told reporters Tuesday, “I don’t have a treasure trove to go out digging on the beach somewhere to find any votes” and said that the county will likely meet the deadline Thursday to complete the machine recount in the governor, senator, and agriculture commissioner races.