Voting in the midterm elections concluded about a week ago at this point, but in Florida, they’re hardly over. Three statewide races were close enough when vote tallies from counties were due this past Saturday to force recounts. Those races include the contest to be the state’s next governor and that to represent the state in the U.S. Senate. Incumbent Senate Democrat Bill Nelson continues to come down hard on his opponent Republican Rick Scott’s efforts to circumvent the tabulation process — an effort he’s empowered to undertake since he doubles as the state’s current governor, who’s tasked with certifying the results of elections. Nelson wants Scott to recuse himself from the proceedings.
Nelson asserted this week:
‘We must… allow this process to take place with civility in our discussions, and that’s because there is a fundamental American principle at stake — protecting every citizen’s right to vote… Rick Scott isn’t interested in making sure every lawful vote is counted… he’s using his power as governor to try to undermine the voting process. He’s thrown around phrases like voter fraud without any proof.’
Bill Nelson calls on Rick Scott to recuse himself from the recount process.
“Scott cannot oversee this process in a fair and impartial way … Given his efforts to undermine the votes of Floridians, this is the only way we can ensure the people’s votes are protected.” pic.twitter.com/Me8EgHmMm5
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 12, 2018
Scott, as Nelson mentioned, has worked to stop the ongoing counting and recounting processes. He’s sued county elections officials where votes (for his opponent, of course) came in late, and he’s sought to have the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigate those same officials.
That demanded investigation hasn’t gotten anywhere because there remains no evidence whatsoever of fraudulent activity. Republicans including Scott are simply freaking out at the prospect of their thin leading margins slipping completely away from them.
Florida Circuit Chief Judge Jack Tuter has asserted that there’s just no credence to the claims of fraud being slung around. He’d originally ended up on the case after the Scott campaign rushed to court with drummed up concerns about the security of the recount process.
In light of these issues, Nelson wants Scott out of the way of the ongoing democratic process.
‘It’s also obvious that Scott can not oversee this process in a fair and impartial way, and thus he should remove himself from any role in the recount process so the people can have the confidence in the integrity of the election… this is the only way that we can ensure that the people’s votes are protected.’
Common Cause Florida and the League of Women Voters of Florida have joined Nelson in his efforts, filing a lawsuit this Monday asking for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction barring Scott from the ongoing recount proceedings.
As of late Monday, though, Scott is remaining in his position.
The situation is similar to one that’s unfolded in Georgia, where Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp — whose responsibilities include supervising elections — ran against Democrat Stacey Abrams in the midterms. He finished slightly ahead of her — after a months long campaign to disenfranchise Georgia voters. He undertook steps like striking tens of thousands of voters from the state registry and delaying tens of thousands of registrations.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot