More Irregularities Uncovered in Florida’s Election Recount

(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) — Florida’s election recount is chugging along as more irregularities are uncovered and a judge asked the warring sides to “ramp down the rhetoric,” saying it erodes public confidence in the election for Senate and governor.

One county revealed Monday that it had allowed some hurricane-displaced voters to cast their ballots by email — a violation of state law. Another had to restart its recount after getting about a quarter finished because someone forgot to push a button. And in oft-criticized Broward County, additional sheriff’s deputies were sent to guard ballots and voting machines, even though a judge said no Republican who has publicly alleged fraud in the county’s process — a list that includes President Donald Trump and Gov. Rick Scott — has filed a criminal complaint or presented evidence.

“An honest vote count is no longer possible” in Florida, Trump declared Monday, without elaborating. He demanded that the election night results — which showed the Republicans leading based upon incomplete ballot counts — be used to determine the winner.

Trump went on to allege that “new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged” and that “ballots (are) massively infected.” It was unclear what he was referring to.

State law requires a machine recount in races where the margin is less than 0.5 percentage points. In the Senate race, Scott’s lead over incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson was 0.14 percentage points. In the governor’s contest, unofficial results showed Republican former Rep. Ron DeSantis ahead of Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by 0.41 percentage points.

Once the recount is complete, if the differences in any of the races are 0.25 percentage points or less, a hand recount will be ordered. All 67 counties face a state-ordered deadline of Thursday to finish their recounts.

Trump’s comments came just hours before Broward Chief Circuit Judge Jack Tuter held an emergency hearing on a request by Scott’s lawyers asking for additional sheriff’s deputies to be sent to Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes’ office to monitor ballots and voting machines. The lawyers requested that the deputies be present when the ballots and voting machines are not being used until the recount is over.

Scott’s lawyers alleged in court documents that Snipes was engaging in “suspect and unlawful vote counting practices” that violate state law and that she might “destroy evidence of any errors, accidents or unlawful conduct.” The motion was supported by lawyers representing …read more

Source:: Time – Politics


President Trump Attacked Mail-In Ballots in Florida. Here Are the Facts

Advocates for overseas voters harshly criticized President Donald Trump for arguing that some mail-in ballots shouldn’t be counted as he spread a conspiracy theory about Florida’s elections on Monday.

In a tweet on Monday, Trump called for the state to stop counting ballots and stick with the results from Election Night, a move that while circumventing state law would also disenfranchise members of the military and civilians overseas, whose ballots can arrive until Nov. 16 and still be counted.

“These overseas and military voters, the worst thing for them is to hear our country’s leaders saying don’t count these votes,” said Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, president and CEO of the U.S. Vote Foundation, a nonprofit that helps overseas voters cast their ballots. “They go to incredible lengths to send their ballots back.”

The tweet came as part of a recent series of attacks by the President on Florida’s ballot counting and re-counting process, including claims made without evidence that Democrats are trying to steal the election.

The state’s own election monitors have said there is no evidence of fraud and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said on Friday it had received no reports of illegal activity despite comments from prominent Republicans. A circuit court judge on Monday told lawyers for both sides to cool things down.

“I am urging, because of the highly public nature of this case, to ramp down the rhetoric,” Judge Jack Tuter said. “Everything the lawyers are saying out in front of the elections office is beamed all over the country. We need to be careful what we say. These words mean things these days, as everybody in the room knows.”

But Trump argued that narrow leads by Republican Senate candidate Rick Scott and Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis should be frozen in place, saying that “an honest vote count is no longer possible” and that ballots are “massively infected.”

“Must go with Election Night!” he tweeted.

This is not the first time that mail-in ballots have contributed to irritation among both parties about ballot counting, though elections experts say Trump’s attacks on the integrity of the democratic process are unprecedented for the commander-in-chief.

Here’s what you need to know about mail-in ballots.

Which states allow voting by mail?

All states will allow certain voters to cast their ballot on an absentee basis, but in 20 states voters must provide an excuse to receive a ballot in …read more

Source:: Time – Politics


Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema Flipped a GOP Seat. But Don’t Expect a Cookie-Cutter Democrat

The Senate race in Arizona was a battle of who could buck party the most and who could hold out hope the longest.

The open seat, vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, went into overtime for almost a week until Monday evening when the Associated Press called the race and Republican Rep. Martha McSally conceded to her rival. Democratic lawmaker Kyrsten Sinema is expected to move her office from the House, where she is now, to the Senate.

Either way, Arizona was going to make history and send its first female Senator to Washington. And in either scenario, that lawmaker was unlikely to be a cookie-cutter member of her party’s rank and file.

Sinema, a former community organizer and Ralph Nader spokeswoman, was the first openly bisexual woman elected to the House and now the Senate. Never one to hew to the party line, she votes with President Donald Trump 62% of the time — a statistic that helps explain her narrow win in a place where Trump still remains popular.

McSally, a one-time #NeverTrumper and a retired Air Force combat pilot, changed her tune to survive a three-way GOP primary. Exit polls found Trump carrying a 52% approval rating, and McSally carried 88% of those voters.

The Senate race also serves as a preview to yet another Senate race expected to come in 2020. Jon Kyl, a former Senator who retired in 2013, is filling in until then for the remainder of the term left after Sen. John McCain, a Republican, died this summer.

There was widespread speculation that Kyl would step aside and Arizona’s Republican Governor would name McSally to the role.

Arizona’s unique politics made the current race so close. While the state has tended to favor Republicans in recent years, there remains a Western independent streak that makes its politics fickle at best and scattershot at worst. That’s why candidates like Kelly Ward and Joe Arpaio were legitimate challengers to McSally in her GOP primary, and why folks like Flake and McCain could survive even as they ignored the GOP’s broader trends.

Now heading to the Upper Chamber, it will be interesting to see if Sinema channels that maverick spirit that party leaders from both sides of the aisle begrudgingly respected in McCain and Flake. With the Senate set to have a Republican majority for the next two years, such an independent streak could break the logjam of Washington — or …read more

Source:: Time – Politics