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Insults and Accusations Fly in Florida Recount

Insults and Accusations Fly in Florida Recount

Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes at center of controversy

As the mandatory recount kicks off in Florida, insults and accusations fly between Democrats and Republicans.

As of Sunday morning, Governor Rick Scott (R) leads Senator Bill Nelson (D) by 12,562 votes (by 0.15%) in the Senate race.  Representative Ron DeSantis (R) leads Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum by 33,684 votes (by  0.41%)) in the gubernatorial race.

Should these numbers hold, DeSantis will be declared the winner after this initial recount, but the Senate race will head to a mandatory second recount, this one by hand.  This mandatory second recount is triggered when the vote margin is less than 0.25%.

We’ve been closely following the Florida Senate and gubernatorial races:

With so much at stake in Florida, tension is high on both sides over—among other things—the discrepancy between the number of votes for governor versus those for the Senate.

The Sun-Sentinel reports:

Bill Scherer, attorney for Republican Gov. Rick Scott, had a front-row seat before Broward County’s canvassing board Sunday morning while election crews calibrated the machines to make sure they were in functioning order.

. . . . “The Democrats are challenging the calibration of the machines,” Scherer told the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Sunday. “They are saying it was a machine glitch” to explain the under votes in the U.S. Senate.

In Broward, nearly 25,000 more people voted in the governor’s race than the U.S. Senate race. Some say voters mistakenly overlooked it because of the way the Broward ballot was designed, with the Senate race in the left-hand column below the instructions.

“Their only hope of overturning this election is claiming there was a machine malfunction,” Scherer said of Democratic leaders. “Those ballots are blank and there’s not a god damn thing they can do about it.”

The poor design of the ballots is at issue, with Republicans claiming that Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes is “incompetent” and that the ballot is poorly-designed.

The Sun-Sentinel continues:

Scherer says he too thinks voters overlooked the Senate race because of the poor design of the ballot.

“The ballot was laid out in an incompetent fashion by the incompetent supervisor of elections,” he said, referring to Snipes, Broward’s supervisor of elections.

Scherer said even his own wife didn’t notice the Senate race on the ballot. He had to point it out to her when they were filling out their mail-in ballots.

“My wife did not see it on the ballot,” he said. “I told her to look again, it’s the first thing on the ballot.”

Mitchell Berger, attorney for Florida Democratic Party, fired back on Sunday.

“Before we even started the process, the Republicans chose to sue Brenda Snipes,” he said outside the room where the recount was underway. “I don’t know why anyone would want to create chaos right now.”

Berger defended Snipes and her staff, noting they were already under intense pressure and trying to do a difficult job in a difficult situation.

Adding to the tension, Broward’s under votes appear to be unique to Broward county.

NBC News reports:

Broward County, just north of Miami, is home to nearly 2 million people, making it one of the largest counties in America. For Democrats, it is also a vote-producing behemoth, typically accounting for more than 10 percent of all of the votes they receive statewide. Not surprisingly, based on the ballots counted from Broward so far, Nelson is crushing his Republican opponent, Gov. Rick Scott, 69 percent to 31 percent.

But that’s where the ballot issue comes in. While there have been a lot of votes cast in Broward in the Senate race, there were more cast in the governor’s race. As of Saturday, the gap stood at about 26,000.

This means that on about 26,000 ballots, voters registered their choice in the governor’s race, which pitted Democrat Andrew Gillum against Republican Ron DeSantis, but not for Senate. That adds up to about 3.7 percent of all ballots cast in Broward. To put it mildly, that number is radically higher than anything found in any of Florida’s 66 other counties, where votes cast in the Senate and gubernatorial races have tracked about evenly.

. . . . And, as political cartographer Matthew Isbell discovered, in the small portion of Broward County that is part of the 24th District, the number of ballots that contained no vote in the Senate race exploded. Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, also examined results from precincts around the county and found that the number of non-votes in the Senate race was significantly higher than the statewide average everywhere — and particularly in the 24th District.

Meanwhile, Scott is accusing Nelson of ” trying to commit fraud to win this election.”

CNBC reports:

Scott said Sunday that Nelson wants fraudulent ballots and those cast by noncitizens to count.

“He is trying to commit fraud to win this election,” Scott told Fox News. “Bill Nelson’s a sore loser. He’s been in politics way too long.” Scott’s campaign did not immediately respond to an email request for evidence supporting his fraud allegations.

Both the state elections division, which Scott runs, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have said they have found no evidence of voter fraud.

DeSantis, who currently appears poised to become Florida’s next governor, calls the results “clear and unambiguous,” even as Gillum retracts his concession.

CNBC continues:

“Let me say clearly, I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every single vote,” [Gillum] said. . . .

In a video statement released Saturday, DeSantis said the election results were “clear and unambiguous” and that he was preparing to become the state’s next governor. 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.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) says that “elections should not be decided by who hires the best lawyers” and makes a distinction between voting fraud and the role of election lawyers: “I didn’t say fraud, I said election lawyers are down here to steal an election.”

Rubio also lays out the issues surrounding the Broward county irregularities and concludes that Snipes is either incompetent or that “something nefarious” is going on.

Watch the segment:


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Ha, I was listening to the stream of talking news heads on C-Span and the media and dems are going all out “count every vote”. Not every legal vote, but every vote. They have been practicing how to say this. What a joke. I hope they all are busted. There was a video of people loading ballots from the backs of cars into a rental truck. Something does not look right.

And then there are the claims that ballots are being destroyed and replaced. This whole election has been irredeemably compromised, and no result is going to be accepted. But that’s what they get for not getting rid of the criminals in charge after the last election that they rigged (or tried to rig)..

    Milhouse in reply to txvet2. | November 12, 2018 at 10:05 am

    Hang on, I think you’ve misunderstood something. Destroying and reconstructing damaged ballots is perfectly normal and legal, and is supposed to happen — but it must be done under strict supervision by a representative of each candidate. The problem is not that Snipes is doing this, but that she’s doing it alone, and refuses to let Scott’s lawyer watch. It should be obvious to any normal person (but evidently not to Snipes or her partisans) that this automatically renders the ballot invalid, that such ballots must not be counted, and that counting them inevitably invalidates the result.

      txvet2 in reply to Milhouse. | November 12, 2018 at 10:42 am

      Save it. The fact that such claims are being spread (and you acknowledge that the procedure is improper) is evidence enough that the election is fatally flawed.

        Milhouse in reply to txvet2. | November 12, 2018 at 11:11 am

        The procedure is not improper. It is proper and required by law, but it must be done under strict supervision, not alone. Doing it alone is what makes it wrong and taints the result.

          txvet2 in reply to Milhouse. | November 12, 2018 at 12:44 pm

          Since you’ve conceded that ballots are being destroyed and replaced, AND conceded that the proper procedures are NOT being followed, you’ve already conceded my point that the election is invalid. I don’t quite know why you feel you have to continue to pretend otherwise.

One thing about designing a ballot to leave one race out of the way is that Democrat vote counters can come along later and fill in the ‘right’ box in the blank race without making too many spoiled ballots suddenly show up in the count.

So not incompetence; malice.

Grrr8 American | November 11, 2018 at 8:37 pm

I posted one possible solution (the Dems won’t vehemently fight it, but it’s just). Read through to where I discussing “balancing the equities” here:

DieJustAsHappy | November 11, 2018 at 8:40 pm

I’m lost. If there are 26,000 ballots with no vote for the Senate, what can be done? Nullify the vote for the county? Re-vote and how would that be fair already knowing the outcome of the rest of the state?

What do you know? There is an aptitude test for voting, after all. It’s a pretty low standard, but Dems always surprise in their ability to perform under a low bar.

“Not surprisingly, based on the ballots counted from Broward so far, Nelson is crushing his Republican opponent, Gov. Rick Scott, 69 percent to 31 percent.”

This is misleading, because it includes the “found” ballots, which were about 80% in favor of Nelson. They are so much in favor of Nelson and Gillum, even if compared only to the rest of Broward’s ballots, that they’re obviously fraudulent. It is extremely unlikely that an extra 100k ballots show that much skew. In 5k ballots, maybe, but not 100k.

In Florida a recount is by design less accurate and more prone to fraud. The voting procedure in Palm Beach CountyFlorida is:

1. Your Drivers License is Scanned
2. You verify your information and sign on a tablet in front of an election official
3. You fill out your ballot and scan the ballot.
4. You hand your ballot to an election official

Once the voter loses physical control of the ballot anything can happen. The original scan is definitive.

Recounting is dangerous and prone to fraud.

Wouldn’t it be funny if they left the tag where they bought the ballot bin containers and traced them to the Dem. with videos.

lord–she looks like moochelle at 60–or waters at 21

from team leader on a housecleaning crew to broward county election official–who says we’re not living in the land of opportunity?

It’s all a fraud. They cheat to get it close enough to trigger a recount, and them they know how many votes they need to manufacture, or destroy to steal the election.

Looking at her picture, it makes me wonder if she was separated from a twin at birth.

Isn’t is suspicious that those 26,000 ballots voting only for Gillum would not be questionable because only Gillum? The odds are higher that they are fraud for Gillum rather than a statistically impossible premise that 26,000 people would make the same mistake of not voting for U.S. Senator? There certainly were enough commercials. I think those 26,000 Gillum ballots were “insurance”.

    Milhouse in reply to snapper451. | November 12, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    That makes no sense. If they were manufactured they would have votes for the straight D ticket. The fact that they missed the senator race proves they’re genuine.