The Senate run in Florida, scraped by a razor, exploded in a real partisan war on Friday when the Democrats insisted on a new count and the Republicans – including President Trump – accused local election officials of overturning the result against them.
Trump and his allies have not provided evidence that fraud has been attributed to a fall in the GOP in the heavy Broward County, South Florida, where the incomplete score of absent and provisional votes has reduced the number of Republicans Rick Scott in all over the world at less than half a percentage point.
The margin is expected to trigger a new vote count, which could begin on Saturday in the counties of the state. It also provoked vocal protests by the Republicans – a dramatic change in rhetoric from Tuesday, when Trump declared "incredible" victories across the country and remained away from the charges of a "rigged" election despite mixed results.
Those accusations are rumbling back on Friday in both Florida and Arizona, where another close Senate race is hanging on a slow card count.
"Rick Scott had over 50,000 votes on election day, now they" found "many votes and only got 15,000 votes," Trump tweeted Friday on the Florida Senate run. "& # 39; The Broward Effect." How come they never get Republican votes? "
In a separate Tweet, Trump claimed "electoral corruption" in the Arizona Senate race, where Democrat Kyrsten Sinema took a lead over Republican Martha McSally from Tuesday.
In Florida, ongoing research has produced votes for both Scott and his Democratic opponent, Senator Bill Nelson, but more for Nelson. This did not prevent other Republicans, including Donald Trump Jr. and Senator Marco Rubio (Fla.), From raising allegations of fraud.
On the Broward County site, protesters reached the sidewalks outside Lauderhill's electoral offices to demand the expulsion of Brenda Snipes, the election supervisor, who has faced a series of mismanagement charges over the past decade. The scene recalls the partisan street struggles that accompanied the quarrelsome presidential tale of 2000; for three hours, about 200 people shouted and waved signs.
"Make every vote counts!" Democrats were shouting.
"Twice!" Republicans replied, mockingly. The almost constant chants mentioned Trump more than Scott, but mostly focused on Snipes. "Shut it up!", The protesters repeated hundreds of times, echoing Trump's campaign cry on Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Scott, the governor of Florida, on a Thursday visit to the governor's mansion, came to suggest "rampant fraud" and asked for an investigation into the forces of order, drawing criticism from Nelson who is using the power of his office to ensure his Senate victory.
"The governor has decided to abandon the most fundamental of all rights because he fears he will lose the election if all votes are counted," Nelson said in a video released on Friday. "… The votes are not found They have been counted."
Starting Friday afternoon, Scott had an advantage over Nelson of just over 16,000 votes, equal to 0.19%, according to the Associated Press. In the governor's race, the mayor of Tallahassee Andrew Gillum (D) dragged former Ron DeSantis (R) Congress member by more than 36,000 votes, or 0.45%.
Under Florida law, a statewide machine is repeated when the victory margin is less than 0.5% and a manual recount is required if the margin is less than 0.25%.
A lawyer from Nelson, Marc Elias, said in a phone call to journalists on Friday that the propaganda in progress at Broward and elsewhere in Florida is a "feature, not a defect, of our democratic system" to ensure that all valid votes are counted . He accused the Republicans of falsely claiming electoral fraud simply because the margin had changed.
"The advantage is just over 15,000 votes now, which seems to have led the governor to hold an impromptu press conference to recognize the marginalization of the margin," Elias said.
Both campaigns went to court, allowing Scott to claim two quick wins on Friday, when a judge ordered Palm Beach County officials to open their canvas at the public inspection, and another judge ordered Broward officials to release the documents requested by the governor.
Nelson's case tries to re-evaluate absent and provisional votes when signatures on ballot papers do not match voter registration records. In Georgia last month, a federal judge ordered local election officials to stop throwing votes because of signing problems.
Scott's campaign went against him. "Their despair pushed them to ask federal courts to allow electoral fraud," campaign director Jackie Schutz Zeckman said. "They are asking the courts to annul election officials and accept votes that have not been legally enacted."
Reports have been poured out by voters complaining that their votes were rejected inappropriately; one came from Patrick Murphy, a former member of the Democratic Congress of Palm Beach, who tweeted: "I just saw the warning from @PBCounty that my absentee vote was not counted because of the" invalid signature "match.It should be +1 @NelsonForSenate @AndrewGillum.Reform these ridiculous barriers to voting."
In Georgia, the close-knit governor's competition pushed the Democrats to accuse Republican contender Brian Kemp of misconduct. Kemp served as secretary of state until Thursday and was a champion of the new voting laws that Democrats say they have deprived the right to vote for the thousands of voters, most of them minorities. Democrat supporters Stacey Abrams climbed on Friday to force a run-off by helping voters validate their provisional votes.
This is not the first time that Broward County and Snipes, the election supervisor, have been at the center of scrutiny. Broward was the site of controversial debates over "suspended chads" and other electoral irregularities that determined the outcome of the 2000 presidential dispute between George W. Bush and Al Gore.
During the 2004 presidential election, Snipes accused the United States postal service of losing 58,000 votes absent, then announced that only 6,000 votes had disappeared. Postal officials have said they have done nothing wrong. Then Snipes' office canceled 2,400 empty votes for voters at the post office on a Saturday before the election, after the postal carriers had already left for the day.
And in 2016, Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz faced a primary challenge from a candidate supported by Bernie Sanders, Tim Canova, in the 23rd district of Florida. Canova denounced Broward election officials and asked to inspect the physical cards of the race. Snipes was accused of destroying physical cards while he was saving digital copies while the lawsuit was pending – a violation of a federal statute requiring that Congress votes be rescued for 22 months after the election.
"Every florida should be worried that there may be frantic fraud in the counties of Palm Beach and Broward, and Broward's election supervisor, Brenda Snipes, has a history of acting in absolute bad faith," Scott said Thursday.
Rubio said that Snipes is a "candidate for removal".
The snipers could not be reached for comment. His lawyer, Burnadette Norris-Weeks, said that counting votes takes time in large counties like Broward. Scott – and the media – were too hasty to declare him a winner in the Senate race, he said.
"They call these races too early," he said.
Scott tried to raise funds from the controversy, holding a 12-minute call with about 90 donors on Friday afternoon during which he asked for contributions. "I'm disappointed with Bill Nelson," said Scott, according to a person called. Scott also said it was "hard to believe they are still counting".
State law allows the governor to suspend an election supervisor for illicit or incompetence and to appoint a substitute. Snipes was appointed by then Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican, in 2003 after having ousted his predecessor.
A spokesperson for the Florida Law Department, Jeremy Burns, said the agency did not initiate an investigation in response to Scott's request because the State Department stated that it is currently not there are allegations of fraud. The governor has the ability to direct himself an investigation by sending a letter to the director of the agency, Burns said, but he did not.
The scoreboard for three people from each county is required to report Saturday's noon returns. The Florida secretary of state will then determine if some races meet the threshold for the reconstruction of the car. If they are communicated, these Thursday are due. Hence, the secretary of state will determine if some races meet the threshold for a manual recount, which is defined as "a hand-to-hand recollection of survivors and subtons set apart from the machine recount".
Those cards set aside – in which the voters skipped a race or voted for two candidates in a competition – would have been the subject of the manual recount.
Rozsa reported on Lauderhill, Fla. Sean Sullivan and Josh Dawsey in Washington contributed to this report.