Lawsuit Cites Snipes’s Delay In Counting Ballots
Rick Scott filed suit against Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes over the county’s delay in completing its count of the votes from the midterm election. Scott sued as a candidate for the U.S. Senate, not in his capacity as governor of Florida.
Scott followed up by lashing out at Snipes in an extraordinary press conference at the Governor’s Mansion on Thursday night.
Broward County lags the rest of the state in completing the first, crucial phases of counting ballots from Tuesday’s midterm election. As of 8 p.m. Thursday, the same time the governor summoned reporters to the mansion, Broward County was the only one of the state’s 67 counties that had not reported to the state that it had completed its tabulation of early votes. Early voting ended Sunday in Broward.
Just before 8 p.m., Broward County’s elections website was updated to indicate it had completed its count of mail votes, but that was not reflected on the state’s website. Palm Beach County was also shown on the state website as not having completed its count of mail voting.
“The people of Florida deserve fairness and transparency, and the [supervisors] are failing to give it to them,” said Scott, who was himself sued multiple times for violating public records and Sunshine laws while governor.
Scott called out both Snipes and Palm Beach County Supervisor Susan Bucher, but only Snipes was named in the suit. Scott refused to take questions from reporters who had been summoned for his remarks.
Scott claimed “left-wing activists have been coming up with more and more ballots out of nowhere.”
Scott’s suit, claiming Snipes has violated public records laws by not complying with his campaign’s requests for voter and ballot information, was filed in Broward County Circuit Court in Fort Lauderdale. Scott and the National Republican Senatorial Committee requested an emergency hearing.
Meanwhile, three statewide races — including Scott’s own against U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson — hang in the balance. Scott held a narrow .18 percent margin over Nelson, 15,092 votes. The gap narrowed by about 6,800 votes Thursday as results trickled in from around the state, including Broward.
In the governor’s race between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum, the margin shrank from .52 percent to .44 percent Thursday, putting it in the range for an automatic machine recount. DeSantis’ lead was 36,223 votes but that was down about 6,700 from Thursday morning.
And in the most significant swing, the race for commissioner of agriculture and consumer services swung completely. The day started with Democrat Nikki Fried trailing Matt Caldwell by about 4,000 votes but by the time the governor started speaking to the media, Fried was ahead by about 2,900 votes, .04 percent.