Ballot Drama: Broward County Rollercoaster Roils Establishment Parties
San Diego, Calif.- Another election, another Florida controversy.
Florida is on its way for a machine recount in both the Senate and gubernatorial races in Broward county.
Brenda Snipes and Broward county have had a long history of controversies involving vote counting:
2000 Presidential Election
Arguably the most well-known of these controversies. Broward county played a central role in the confusion during the 2000 presidential election. The "hanging chad" riddle was eventually solved by the Supreme Court.
2016 Ballot Destruction
A circuit court judge ruled Snipes broke federal and state law by too quickly destroying ballots from the August 2016 primaries earlier this year. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz won the race by a narrow margin, which was the subject of a lawsuit by candidate Tim Canova.
2018 Gubernatorial Election
Nearly 25,000 more votes were cast for governor than for the Senate, a discrepancy larger than the current Senate race margin of Sen. Bill Nelson and Rick Scott.
The Broward County ballot was designed so the Senate race appeared in the lower left-hand corner, below the instructions, spurring a theory that many voters simply missed the contest.
Republicans Call For Investigation
Republicans got a boost Friday when a judge ordered Broward county had to turn over voter information to Scott's campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee under Florida's open records laws.
President Trump claimed Broward County was "probably getting ready to do a 'number'" and turn the election against Scott and De Santis, the Republican candidates running for Senate and Governor. Both currently hold a slim lead.
Also said Friday, more lawyers would be sent to Florida to counter Democratic election lawyer Marc Elias, who is representing Nelson's campaign.
Democrats Call For Vote Counts
Incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson filed a lawsuit to extend Saturday's deadline for county canvassing boards to submit their unofficial results.
In a statement released Friday, Nelson said Rick Scott was abusing his office by trying to stop a complete and accurate counting of all the votes. “The reason why he feels that way is obvious: we believe when every legal ballot is counted we’ll win this election."
Nelson trailed by around 15,000 votes, or 0.18 percent, below the state’s 0.25 percent threshold for a hand recount.
Weeks of Drama?
The recounts and possible legal challenges mean it could be weeks until a winner is determined in either race.
The lawsuit filed by Nelson and Democrats notes that “thousands of eligible Florida voters” could see their rights violated under the state’s signature-matching requirements, citing research suggesting that ballots submitted by black and young voters are disproportionately rejected using that standard.