Florida, Florida, Florida.
There’s a statewide recount taking place in Florida for a very contentious gubernatorial and Senate race, one that hasn’t been of this magnitude since the infamous Florida recount almost 20 years ago.
In Florida politics fashion, the recount comes amid accusations of voter fraud and a slew of lawsuits challenging that there are more than 40,000 votes in the state that have not been counted.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum initially conceded to his opponent, Republican Ron DeSantis on election night, but after the margins dwindled, the difference was enough to implore a recount according to Florida law.
Like former presidential candidate Al Gore — Gillum rescinded his concession proclamation, saying that he would stand on watch as every vote is counted.
What’s embarrassing to democracy is not counting every vote — and you, of course.
Count every vote. https://t.co/ZfrBBcymrg
— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) November 9, 2018
In 2000, news networks called the state of Florida for Democratic candidate Gore, then called it for Republican candidate George W. Bush before settling on “too close to call.”
The recount for the state began the next day drawing nationwide attention for days as Florida was poised to determine the outcome of the presidential election.
After recounts, manual recounts, lawsuits and star-studded legal teams, the U.S. Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore ruled the victory belonged to Bush, with a winning margin of 537 votes.
Over a month after election night in 2000, Gore conceded to Bush.
Facts: Gov Scott had hand picked elections supervisors in this office for weeks prior to election. His attorney Bill Scherer is doing everything possible to interfere with counting of votes. Why? They keep claiming fraud, while I think incompetence. https://t.co/D6NUDn1bwh
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) November 11, 2018
On Sunday (11/11), groups of Republican supporters protested outside Broward and Palm Beach Counties election offices. These districts are known to be heavily Black and Democratic.
Flashback to 2000, supporters of Bush did the same thing. They wanted the election to be decided on the numbers from election night — a few days ago President Donald Trump echoed that sentiment.
“An honest vote count is no longer possible,” Trump said on Monday. He demanded the election night results — which showed the Republicans leading based upon incomplete ballot counts — be used to determine the winner, the AP reported.
Trump also said that, “New ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged” and “ballots are massively infected.”
On the other side of aisle, Democrats allege full-scale state-sponsored voter suppression — at the hands of Florida’s governor and senate candidate Rick Scott.
His opponent Bill Nelson, the Democratic candidate for senator has vehemently expressed that Scott should recuse himself from the recount process.
“It’s clear Rick Scott cannot oversee this recount in a fair and impartial way. He should remove himself from any role in the process so the people of Florida can have confidence in the integrity of the election.”
Scott has claimed no wrong-doing as an officeholder and candidate, but he says Brenda Snipes, the head of elections in Broward County, is trying to tilt the election in the Democrats favor, — citing suspicious activity with voter recount.
Snipes, who is serving her fourth term as elections supervisor in Broward County, admitted that with the high voter turnout, amended ballots and outdated machines, “There have been issues that haven’t gone the way we wanted.”
Scott and his legal team asked a judge to order additional sheriff deputies be sent to Snipes’ office to monitor the recount.
The Republican establishment alleges Snipes is engaging in suspect and unlawful vote counting practices, adding that they believe she might destroy evidence.
A mediating judge said accusatory statements from both sides with no evidence must stop.
“I am urging because of the highly public nature of this case to ramp down the rhetoric,” Broward Chief Circuit Judge Jack Tuter said, according to AP.
“If someone in this lawsuit or someone in this county has evidence of voter fraud or irregularities at the supervisor’s office, they should report it to their local law enforcement officer,” the judge said. “If the lawyers are aware of it, they should swear out an affidavit…”
“But everything the lawyers are saying out there in front of the elections office is being beamed all over the country. We need to be careful of what we say. Words mean things these days.”
Almost 70 counties have been ordered by the state to finish their recounts by Thursday. If the differences in any of the races are 0.25 percent points or less, a hand recount will be ordered.
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Sarafina Wright is a political correspondent for EBONY.com. Previously she served as the editor of the WI Bridge and staff writer at the Washington Informer in Washington, DC, covering business, education, health and politics. She attended Howard University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. When she’s not writing professionally she can be found blogging at www.sarafinasaid.com. Sarafina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.