President Donald Trump has interjected himself into another election controversy. On Thursday evening he said that law enforcement was examining a “big corruption scandal” regarding “Election Fraud” in Florida. There are two Florida counties that have found themselves in the middle of an intense fight over vote counts in the state’s too-close-to-call U.S. Senate race.
“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!”
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2018
It is not clear, however, that there really is a “corruption scandal” in these two counties. The vote counts have been slow and irregular, but that is probably due to incompetence and antiquated voting systems instead of corruption.
Yesterday the GOP senate candidate, current Florida Governor Rick Scott announced that he is suing Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes. Scott has alleged that Snipes’ office withheld critical voter information.
As votes slowly came in after Tuesday’s election Scott’s initial lead has disappeared. This means that the nationally prominent Senate race against his Democratic opponent, current U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is headed for a recount.
The president’s tweet came less than two hours after Scott sued Snipes. The lawsuit was filed in the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida Thursday evening.
Scott is charging that Snipes’s Broward County elections office withheld critical information about vote counts, such as how many people voted in the midterm elections, and how many ballots remain to be counted in Broward County.
The governor held a news conference Thursday in which he requested that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) open an investigation into Broward County election records. He maintained that the request to the FDLE was made in his capacity as a senatorial candidate and not in his official capacity as governor of Florida.
However, at his news conference on Thursday night, Scott said there were “unethical liberals trying to steal this election from the people of Florida.” He also said there were “incompetence and irregularities in vote tabulations in Broward and Palm Beach.”
“Every Floridian should be concerned there may be rampant fraud happening in Palm Beach and Broward Counties,” Scott said. “And the Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes has a history of acting in bad faith.”
A spokesman for Senator Nelson, Dan McLaughlin, issued a statement saying that the Nelson campaign wants to make sure that every legally-cast vote is counted. He rejected Scott’s charges that Nelson is trying to “steal” the election.
“The goal here is to see that all the votes in Florida are counted and counted accurately,” McLaughlin said in a statement. “Rick Scott’s action appears to be politically motivated and borne out of desperation.”
There is no question that everything Rick Scott does is “politically motivated.” But there is an open question concerning whether or not he actually won his senate race against Bill Nelson. Like everyone else, the governor is going to have to just wait and see how things shake out after all votes are counted — and recounted.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.