Florida’s midterm elections have descended into
The secretary of state ordered recounts in three races
A top election official said Sunday it would be
“impossible” to meet the Thursday deadline.
Political tensions have reached a fever pitch amid
baseless claims of voter fraud from Republicans including
President Donald Trump.
Florida’s midterm elections descended into chaos over the weekend
as three recounts were ordered and baseless claims of voter fraud
Tensions reached a fever pitch after Florida Secretary of State
Ken Detzner ordered automatic machine
recounts for the US Senate, governor, and
agricultural commissioner races in an unprecedented move.
Amid continuous baseless claims of voter fraud from
President Donald Trump and Republican Senate candidate Rick
Scott, election officials strained under tight
Three close races
On Election Day, Republican Rick Scott was expected to
defeat Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson in the Senate
However, Scott’s lead over incumbent Nelson totaled 0.15
percentage points, triggering a hand recount of undervotes and
overvotes, or ballots from which tabulation machines couldn’t
determine which candidate got the vote,
In the governor’s race, unofficial tallies showed Ron
DeSantis leading Andrew Gillum by less than 0.5 percentage
points, which triggered an automatic machine recount, the Miami
Democrat Nikki Fried had a 0.06 percentage point lead over
Republican state Rep. Matt Caldwell in the race for agriculture
commissioner, which will also undergo a machine
Officials in all 67 counties are expected to re-feed
ballots into count tabulators by 3 p.m. on November 15 and return
re-tabulated results back to the secretary of state.
Counties are free to decide when they begin their recounts,
but must complete them by Thursday.
Palm Beach County’s elections chief Susan Bucher said it
would be “impossible”
for her department to complete a recount for the three races by
volunteers have only eight machines to
recount the hundreds of thousand votes.
Baseless claims of voter fraud
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images
Scott said Sunday that Nelson was trying to garner votes
from fraudulent ballots and those cast by noncitizens.
“He is trying to commit fraud to win this election,” Scott
told Fox News without offering
further evidence. “Bill Nelson’s a sore loser. He’s been in
politics way too long.”
No state department, including the election division Scott heads,
has found any
no evidence of voter fraud. The Florida Department of Law
Enforcement said Friday it has not
launched any investigation into election fraud.
Trump has extensively lashed out about the process,
calling it a “disgrace” and tweeting Friday to suggest Democrats
are behind a fraudulent agenda.
“How come they never find Republican votes?” the president
citing baseless claims that Broward County officials attempted to
“falsify” votes in the 2016 election as well. “This is an
embarrassment to our Country and to Democracy!” he tweeted.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham echoed
baseless claims about the election, saying he “couldn’t
agree more” with Scott about “apparent shenanigans going on in
Broward and Palm Beach.”
On Sunday, Scott filed lawsuits against local election officials,
asking a judge to order police to impound voting machines and
ballots when they’re not in use,
And last week, Scott filed a lawsuit
demanding records detailing the counting and collection of
ballots cast, a move which political opponents
said appeared to be politically motivated and a sign
Mixed messages from candidates
Candidates have gone back and forth over the decision to
call a recount. Gillum withdrew his concession Saturday, saying
he was “replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised
and unapologetic call that we count every single
In a video statement released
Saturday, DeSantis said the election results were “clear and
unambiguous” and he was preparing to become the state’s next
He also thanked the state’s supervisors of elections, canvassing
boards, and the staffs for “working hard to ensure that all
lawful votes are counted.”
“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.