Politics

Judge Orders Broward County to Release Voter Data Amid Controversy

Action comes after Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday announced a lawsuit against officials for failing to meet the state deadline

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Broward County, Florida, was ordered by a judge on Friday to release voter information in response to a legal challenge over a ballot controversy filed by outgoing Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

Federal Circuit Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips found that the country election supervisor violated the law by failing to turn over the information.

The judge also set a deadline of Friday at 7 p.m. for the supervisor to turn over the information under the state’s open records laws.

The Associated Press is reporting that lawyers for the supervisor claim that requiring such a quick response would interfere with the ballot count.

Scott announced the lawsuit against the county supervisor for failing to meet the state deadline. He ran for a senatorial seat against incumbent Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson — and also alleged rampant fraud by the Democratic county officials.

Scott’s lawyers responded to the decision by arguing the information is already required to be collected under state law.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) also joined the lawsuit against the county.

Broward County reported finding extra ballots after the deadline for turning them in following the midterm elections on Tuesday.

The news has spurred considerable controversy, with the senatorial and gubernatorial races in the state remaining exceedingly close.

The extra ballots could potentially make all the difference. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum jumped back into the situation after the votes were uncovered — even though he had already conceded defeat earlier this week.

Related: Florida Teacher Discovers Provisional Ballot Box in Storage Room

Former Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is still in a bitter fight for votes, with the race so close.

President Donald Trump took to social media to express his concern over the unfolding situation. He warned that law enforcement is looking into the alleged corruption scandal in a tweet Thursday.

The president also cited similar incidents happening in other counties while coining them the “The Broward Effect.”

He questioned why they never seem to find extra Republican votes in situations like these.

Gillum is also considering the possibility of seeking a recount in response to his close but failed bid.

He was down by just one percentage point when he conceded defeat in a tough election battle that went late into the night Tuesday. But that already small loss has since narrowed even more. Fox News reported that a mandatory recount appears imminent.

Related: Progressive Agenda on Horizon if Florida Voters Choose Gillum

The midterms overall drew a considerable amount of attention. Trump held dozens of rallies across the country to stir support for conservative candidates in the midterms. He won Florida by 1.2 percentage points.

The Center for Responsive Politics released a report last week projecting that the current midterm elections will be the most expensive ever at more than $5.2 billion.

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