Image Credit: Andrew Gillum, Facebook

PoliZette

Florida Must Do Everything Possible to ‘Protect the Integrity’ of the Election Process

On 'The Ingraham Angle,' Sunshine State attorneys discussed the raging recounts — and the two problem counties

Florida officials must take “whatever steps are necessary” to “protect the integrity” of the state’s election system, now that the razor-thin gubernatorial and Senate elections appear headed for recounts following Tuesday’s midterm elections, Florida-based attorney Joseph P. Klock Jr. said Thursday night on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”

It initially appeared that outgoing Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) had prevailed in their races against incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, respectively — by comfortable margins.

But the outstanding ballots are mysteriously still pouring in from two key counties: Broward and Palm Beach. Andrew Gillum (pictured above right) now is considering seeking a recount because of the number of outstanding ballots still left to count.

The Bill Nelson campaign (he’s shown above left) announced that his election is also headed for a recount because Scott’s lead suddenly dropped to less than one-half percent.

Scott and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) sued both Broward County and Palm Beach County on Thursday.

“So, it has been over 48 hours since the polls closed and Broward and Palm Beach Counties are still finding and counting ballots — and the supervisors — Brenda Snipes and Susan Bucher — cannot seem to say how many ballots still exist or where these ballots came from, or where they have been,” Scott told reporters.

“No ragtag group of liberal activists or lawyers from D.C. will be allowed to steal this election from the voters in the state of Florida.”

Scott also said on Fox News’ “Hannity” that “we don’t know how many votes they’re gonna come up with. But it seems they’re going to try to come up with as many votes as it takes to win this election … We’re gonna fight this, and we’re gonna win.”

President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday evening, “Law Enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in #Broward and Palm Beach. Florida voted for Rick Scott!”

Klock, who headed the team of lawyers representing then-Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris in the state’s legal challenge over the recount following the 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, said the state “thought they addressed some of the problems to avoid this kind of thing from happening” again.

“It’s really kind of embarrassing to the state that we have to have this kind of thing go on,” Klock told Fox News host Laura Ingraham, noting that his home county of Miami-Dade doesn’t “have this kind of thing happening here.”

But Florida doesn’t have statewide controls over the balloting process — instead allowing it to be done on a county-by-county basis.

“And if, you know, because Ms. Snipes apparently has this cloud hanging over her head, and then if there [are] indeed ballots that are now showing up, they shouldn’t be,” Klock said.

“We need to make sure we take whatever steps are necessary with the judiciary to protect the integrity of the system so that we don’t have these problems,” he also said.

Snipes faced her own legal challenges earlier this year when a judge ruled that she had illegally destroyed congressional ballots in 2016 and required subsequent supervision.

Klock noted that “obviously all [Scott] wants to do is make sure that there’s judicial supervision of what’s going on, that things don’t happen that ought not [to] happen.”

Lawyer Barry Richard, who is representing Gillum, also represented Bush during the 2000 Florida controversy. He told Ingraham that Gillum is “just waiting for the system to play itself out.”

“This is part of the electoral process. It’s part of the vote counting, and he’ll accept the results,” Richard insisted.

Related: Andrew Gillum May Seek Recount After Closely Fought Election

Lawyer Miguel De Grandy, who served in Florida’s House of Representatives and was the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee there, told Ingraham he cannot understand why the “mail-in ballots and early votes are still being counted and have not yet been properly recorded” in those two key counties.

“According to our laws, those votes are supposed to be uploaded the day before an election so they can be reported a half an hour after the votes closed the next day. So we’re at a loss to understand what’s happening at Palm Beach and Broward,” De Grandy said. “And it’s the same two counties that can’t seem to get it right out of our 67 counties in the state of Florida.”

Noting that he lost his first election to the Florida House of Representatives by one vote in 1988, De Grandy insisted that “every vote needs to be counted and an election needs to be tabulated fairly.”

“What concerns us at this point is the irregularities that are occurring … We can’t view the [damaged] ballots … being duplicated, which is required by law in the presence of witnesses, and we’re denied access to that process,” De Grandy said.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) went on a Twitter spree on Thursday in which he accused county officials of potential misconduct this time around.

“Why can’t #BrowardCounty elections do what 65 of 67 counties did, count all votes in timely way & in compliance with #Florida law?” Rubio wondered.

“Every vote legally cast should be counted. That’s the law … Have no problem with recounts. That’s the law. But last early votes were cast Sunday & had to be submitted by Tue evening. [That’s] the law too. Yet 48 hours after deadline #BrowardCounty is only county still counting them.”

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PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected].