MIAMI (CBSMiami) — It’s deadline day in Florida. Noon Saturday is the deadline for Election Supervisors to turn in a county’s first unofficial results.
Later in the day, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner is expected to certify those results. If the margin in a statewide race is less than 0.5 percent, Detzner is required to order a machine recount.
Right now, that’s the case for the U.S. Senate race between Florida Governor Rick Scott and incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, as well as the contests for state Agriculture Commissioner and Governor.
Rick Scott says “unethical liberals” are trying to steal the election.
Bill Nelson says Scott fears that he will lose the election if all the votes are counted and Scott is “impeding the democratic process.”
Nelson and the Florida Democratic Party are also suing Ken Detzner’s office to prevent elections officials statewide from throwing out mail-in votes and provisional ballots.
Nelson also filed a federal lawsuit Friday, seeking to postpone the Saturday deadline to submit unofficial election results.
Scott, meantime, filed a lawsuit against Broward County Supervisor of Election Brenda Snipes and Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher and won both.
On Friday, West Palm Beach Circuit Court Judge Krista Marx granted an injunction ordering Bucher to submit “over-voted” and “under-voted” absentee ballots to the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board for public review of each vote before they are counted.
In Broward, Scott’s lawsuit alleged Snipes’ office is hiding information about the number of ballots left to be counted. Broward County Circuit Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips ordered the immediate release of voter information from Snipes. She was ordered to turn over records detailing the counting and collection of ballots.
Scott’s thin lead over Nelson has narrowed in the vote-counting in the days since he declared victory on Tuesday night.
Without citing any evidence of wrongdoing, Scott also asked Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate elections offices in the Democratic strongholds of Palm Beach and Broward counties, questioning whether they have been taking too long in some sort of effort to inflate the Democratic vote.
However, a spokeswoman says Scott did not submit his request in writing, and that no allegation of voter fraud in Broward has been sent to the Department of State. Therefore, there is no active investigation.
In the governor’s race, Democrat Andrew Gillum’s campaign said Thursday it’s readying for a possible recount. He conceded to Republican Ron DeSantis on Tuesday night, though the race has since tightened.
DeSantis has mostly stayed out of the fray, saying he was working on plans for taking office in January.
If a machine recount is ordered, supervisors then have until November 15th to complete that process and turn in the second unofficial results. If those results show any races within a quarter of a percent of each other, the secretary will order a manual recount—this time supervisors will hand check any ballots voting machines identify as over or under votes, meaning the machine thinks the voter voted twice in one race, or not at all.
That process must be wrapped up by November 18 when official returns are due. Any county that doesn’t make the deadline will have to use the results it turned in at the previous deadline.