The Latest: Gillum says claims of fraud undermine democracy
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the Florida recount of its Senate and governor elections (all times local):
Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate says claims of electoral fraud without evidence by President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Rick Scott were sowing seeds that could undermine confidence in the democratic process.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum told a packed church of 200 supporters in Orlando Tuesday night that he would fight “with every fiber in my body” to make sure that every vote is counted as Florida’s 67 counties work to complete a machine recount and face the prospect of a manual recount.
The machine recount was triggered in Gillum’s gubernatorial race against his GOP opponent, Ron DeSantis, as well as in the U.S. Senate race between Scott and incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson.
Gillum says claims by Trump and Scott about electoral fraud in counties that were taking time counting ballots were equivalent to trying to disenfranchise voters.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and a Democratic campaign committee are continuing to file lawsuits over the recount now underway in Florida.
Nelson and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee filed two lawsuits Tuesday. One asks a federal judge to set aside looming deadlines for machine and hand recounts of ballots to give all counties time to complete recounts.
Nelson is trying to win a fourth term but is trailing Republican Gov. Rick Scott in a tight race.
Marc Elias, a campaign attorney for Nelson, said every county should be given a chance to finish recounting the ballots in the race. There are concerns that some large counties will not be able to finish a hand recount if it is ordered.
The deadline for the machine recount is Thursday.
A Florida circuit judge is suspending looming recount deadlines, but her ruling applies to Palm Beach County only and does not apply to the U.S. Senate race between Bill Nelson and Rick Scott.
Leon County Judge Karen Gievers ruled Tuesday that a machine recount in two other statewide elections, including the race for governor, can go beyond Thursday’s deadline. Gievers also extended the deadline for a legislative race.
Jim Bonfiglio, a Democrat running for the Legislature, filed the lawsuit asking that recount deadlines be suspended.
Gievers agreed to the delay because Palm Beach does not have enough machines to do four recounts at the same time.
It’s not clear, however, if Gievers’ ruling will remain in place. Lawyers for Secretary of State Ken Detzner have asked that the lawsuit be moved to federal court.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and a Democratic campaign committee are filing another lawsuit related to the ongoing recount of the U.S. Senate race in Florida.
Lawyers for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Nelson filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday. This lawsuit asks a federal judge to push back the deadline for a potential hand recount in the race. It also asks a judge to set aside some of the rules in place for a hand recount.
Right now counties are doing a machine recount of the tight race between Nelson and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.
If Nelson and Scott are separated by 0.25 percent or less after the first recount then a second hand recount will be ordered. The results are due Sunday.
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says President Donald Trump and Gov. Rick Scott are attempting to bully Florida election officials out of doing their jobs.
Schumer and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, both Democrats, spoke with reporters Tuesday in Washington. Scott, a Republican, is challenging Nelson for his Senate seat. Scott’s slight lead over Nelson following last week’s election prompted an automatic recount.
Schumer says Scott should recuse himself from any duties connected to the recount. Nelson echoed those sentiments, saying Scott can’t oversee the process in a fair and impartial way.
Schumer says election officials should have all the time they need to count every vote, rather than Sunday’s deadline. He says President Trump, who has made unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud, should stop bullying, harassing and lying about the vote in Florida.
The elections supervisor in the Florida county at the center of the vote recount has hinted that she might not run for re-election.
Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes told reporters Tuesday that “it is time to move on” and that she believed she had fulfilled her duties. When asked directly if that meant she wasn’t running for another four-year term in 2020, Snipes said no final decision had been made and she would check with her family.
Snipes has held the Broward elections post since 2003, when she was appointed by then-Gov. Jeb Bush. She has won re-election since, despite a number of missteps and controversies that have led Republicans to accuse her of fraud.
Authorities have not found any evidence of fraud.
President Donald Trump is going after Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson for not conceding in his contest against Republican Rick Scott.
Trump tweeted Tuesday: “When will Bill Nelson concede in Florida? The characters running Broward and Palm Beach voting will not be able to “find” enough votes, too much spotlight on them now!”
Scott holds a narrow lead over Nelson. Trump did not provide additional evidence to explain his criticism of Florida voting.
Trump tweeted Monday that “An honest vote count is no longer possible” in Florida, without elaborating, and said “new ballots showed up out of nowhere.”
Former Florida U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy says his ballot didn’t count because of a discrepancy with his signature.
As the vote counts tightened last week, Murphy checked the Palm Beach County elections website and saw his mail-in vote was scrapped because of an invalid signature.
Murphy says it “shows how broken our system is,” adding, “you just wonder how many other cases there are.”
Murphy, who was the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate in 2016, said he hoped to appeal, but learned the Nov. 5 deadline had already passed. He said the burden should be on election supervisors to proactively notify citizens.
He said these “kinds of error and mishaps” are troubling in a state like Florida with a history of close elections.
The White House is again weighing in on the Florida Senate recount.
White House spokeswoman Mercedes Schlapp said Tuesday the president “obviously has his opinion” on the recount. Trump on Monday tweeted that “An honest vote count is no longer possible” in Florida, without elaborating, and said “new ballots showed up out of nowhere.”
Republican Gov. Rick Scott holds a narrow lead over incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson.
Schlapp said, “It’s been incredibly frustrating to watch. You have a 12,000-vote gap and the other candidate refuses to concede.”
She said the president is confident Scott will win.
Florida’s election recount of its Senate and governor’s races is chugging along as more irregularities are uncovered.
Bay County revealed Monday that it had allowed some hurricane-displaced voters to cast their ballots by email — a violation of state law.
Manatee County had to restart its recount after getting about a quarter finished because someone forgot to push a button.
And in oft-criticized Broward County, additional sheriff’s deputies were sent to guard ballots and voting machines. A judge said no Republican who has publicly alleged fraud in Broward’s process has filed a criminal complaint. That list includes President Donald Trump and Gov. Rick Scott.
Scott’s Senate contest against Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson is one race being recounted. Republican Ron DeSantis is leading Andrew Gillum in the governor race.