Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) jumped into the GOP pile-on of Broward County elections supervisor Brenda Snipes on Monday, tweeting that "there is no question ... Snipes failed to comply with Florida law on multiple counts." Snipes, first appointed by Bush, has made some errors, but state law enforcement and election officials have found no evidence of illegal behavior by Snipes, and on Monday a judge ruled against Gov. Rick Scott's (R) motion to impound the voting equipment in heavily Democratic Broward County.
In heavily Republican Bay County, however, election supervisor Mark Andersen acknowledged Monday that he had allowed some voters to cast their ballots over email, which is not allowed under state law.
Bay County was hit hard by Hurricane Michael on Oct. 10, and Scott issued an executive order on Oct. 18 extending early voting and expanding more voting locations in the eight affected counties. His order, The Associated Press reports, explicitly prohibited votes being returned by email or fax. Andersen defended his decision to let 150 people scan their ballots and email them in, telling NBC affiliate WJHG/WECP, "If you want to turn around and take away these votes away from voters because it's not the normal prescribed issue, I would just say you ought to be ashamed of yourself because what we did is take care of voters."
Democrat Andrew Gillum, whose race against Republican Ron DeSantis is being recounted, was not moved. "These are the stories that we know," he said Monday evening. "Imagine the ones that we don't." Democrats have filed their own lawsuits, including one by Sen. Bill Nelson (D) seeking to force the counting of mail-in ballots postmarked before Election Day but not delivered in time. You can learn more about the election results from MSNBC's Steve Kornacki and about the lawsuits and the recount below in Ari Melber's report Monday night from Broward County. Peter Weber
As Florida begins its recount in three close races — governor, Senate, and agriculture commissioner — some things have changed since the contentious 2000 presidential recount, like uniform voting and vote-counting rules, and some things haven't: Politics, lawsuits, and a focus on the Democratic strongholds of Broward and Palm Beach counties. Gov. Rick Scott (R), whose lead in the Senate race has shrunk to 12,562 votes as Florida's most populous counties tallied their votes, has leveled unsubstantiated claims of fraud, and he and state Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) are leaning hard on state police to involve themselves in the recount.
On Thursday, Scott said he was asking the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate election officials in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. The FDLE declined, explaining Friday that there were no credible fraud allegations. On Saturday, the Department of State, which Scott oversees, said its observers in Broward had seen "no evidence of criminal activity." On Sunday, Bondi told FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen in a letter she is "deeply troubled" he is not pursuing any investigation into Broward and Palm Beach election officials. In a separate letter, Bondi told Secretary of State Ken Detzner, a Republican Scott appointee, to report any "indication creating a reasonable suspicion of potential criminal activity" to law enforcement.
Also Sunday, Scott's campaign filed emergency motions requesting that voting machines and ballots in Broward and Palm Beach counties be turned over to the FDLE and sheriff's deputies when votes aren't being counted. State Democratic Party director Juan Peñalosa criticized Scott's move to "seize ballots and impound voting machines," comparing him to "Latin American dictators" in Cuba and Venezuela.