Florida Gov. Rick Scott suggested there was fraud and called for law enforcement to investigate two counties over their election practices as the Republican’s lead in the state’s U.S. Senate race continued to shrink Thursday evening.
As the Senate contest between Scott and Senator Bill Nelson appeared headed toward a recount, Scott repeatedly accused liberals of trying to “steal” the election from him in Broward and Palm Beach counties. He called out the supervisors of elections, Democrats Brenda Snipes and Susan Bucher, by name, on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the way the counties were counting ballots.
“Every Floridian should be concerned there may be rampant fraud happening in Palm Beach and Broward counties,” he said in a televised statement outside the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee. The governor offered no specific evidence of fraud, saying only that the counties were the only two in the state where there were irregularities.
“Every day since the election, the left-wing activists in Broward County have been coming up with more and more ballots out of nowhere. We all know what is going on. Every person in Florida knows exactly what is happening. Their goal is to mysteriously keep finding more votes until the election turns out the way they want.”
“Tonight, I am asking the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate this immediately,” he added later. “No ragtag group of liberal activists or lawyers from D.C. will be allowed to steal this election from the voters of this great state.”
A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but told reporters Thursday the agency would investigate.
Every Floridian should be concerned there may be rampant fraud happening in Palm Beach and Broward counties. Gov. Rick Scott
Florida law mandates a machine recount if the margin separating the candidates is less than 0.5 percent of the total votes cast. If the margin is less than 0.25 percent of the votes cast, the law requires a hand recount. Saturday is the deadline for county canvassing boards to file unofficial election results with the Florida secretary of state.
As of Thursday, Scott and Nelson were separated by 0.18 percentage points. In the governor’s race, Republican Ron DeSantis and Andrew Gillum were separated by 0.44 percent.
“The goal here is to see that all the votes in Florida are counted and counted accurately. Rick Scott’s action appears to be politically motivated and born out of desperation,” Dan McLaughlin, a Nelson spokesman, said in a statement.
The United States President, Donald Trump also weighed in with a tweet backing Scott on Thursday night, saying there was “another big corruption scandal” in Broward County.