Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott is filing three lawsuits against county election officials as a recount has gotten underway in the Senate contest between himself and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
In the first complaint, the Scott campaign alleges Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes counted a certain number of ballots after the Saturday noon deadline. The campaign announced it is filing two other lawsuits against Snipes and Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Buchner, requesting voting tabulation equipment be impounded after the machine recount is completed. The lawsuits also request both supervisors be required to preserve all ballots and records connected with the 2018 election.
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Snipes' attorney, Eugene Pettis, gave a response.
"Dr. Snipes has taken multiple measures to make sure that the election machines and ballots are in safe keeping. She is committed to fulfilling all of her responsibilities under the law to make sure that the integrity of this election is maintained and that every legally cast vote will be counted and submitted to the state in a timely fashion," Pettis said.
The initial count in the race had Scott ahead by a small enough margin to trigger a recount according state law.
As the recount began, tensions across the state escalated, with candidates, activists and lawyers weighing in and taking issue with the process for the Senate, governor and state agriculture commissioner contests.
Nelson released a statement Sunday afternoon in response to Scott's new lawsuits, describing the move as an effort "to stop every legal vote from being counted."
"He's doing this for the same reason he's been making false and panicked claims about voter fraud -- he's worried that when all the votes are counted he'll lose this election," the statement said. "We will not allow him to undermine the democratic process and will use every legal tool available to protect the rights of Florida voters."
The Florida Democratic Party went a step further, saying in a statement Sunday that Scott is "doing his best to impersonate Latin American dictators who have overthrown Democracies in Venezuela and Cuba."
"The Governor is using his position to consolidate power by cutting at the very core of our Democracy," the state party's executive director, Juan Peñalosa, said.
Scott and President Donald Trump have leveled a raft of serious accusations against Democrats in the state, while Nelson, in turn, said he believes "when every legal ballot is counted," he would win.
On Friday, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said it was not investigating anything related to the election after the Florida Department of State said there were no allegations of criminal activity.
Sunday's complaints from the Scott campaign add to the litigation piling up less than a week after Election Day as both sides battle it out for the Senate seat.
Nelson's team filed a lawsuit on Friday against the Florida GOP secretary of state, and Scott announced a pair of lawsuits with the National Republican Senatorial Committee last Thursday against both Snipes and Bucher. On Friday, Scott and the NRSC won the suits, meaning election supervisors must comply with Scott's requests for certain vote-related information.
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