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Rick Scott sues Broward, Palm Beach elections supervisors over ballot delays

Elizabeth Koh and Steve Bousquet, Miami Herald on

Published in News & Features

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A visibly frustrated Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday accused "unethical liberals" of trying to steal a U.S. Senate seat from him, as his campaign filed two lawsuits against Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes and Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher for allegedly refusing to release details on voting tabulations and hindering the processing of absentee ballots, respectively.

"I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election from the great people of Florida," Scott told reporters as he stood outside the Governor's Mansion.

Scott took the unusual step of delivering a partisan political attack from his taxpayer-funded residence, which is usually reserved for official state events.

The governor's lead over Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has steadily eroded in the two days since Scott declared victory on Tuesday night, and he asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate.

"Their goal is to keep mysteriously finding votes until the election turns out the way they want," Scott said.

Broward County lags the rest of the state in completing the first, crucial phases of counting ballots from Tuesday's midterm election. As of 8 p.m. Thursday, the same time the governor summoned reporters to the mansion, Broward County was the only one of the state's 67 counties that had not reported to the state that it had completed its tabulation of early votes. Early voting ended Sunday in Broward.

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Just before 8 p.m., Broward County's elections website was updated to indicate it had completed its count of mail votes, but that was not reflected on the state's website. Palm Beach County was also shown on the state website as not having completed its count of mail voting.

"The people of Florida deserve fairness and transparency, and the supervisors are failing to give it to us," said Scott, who was himself sued multiple times for violating public records and Sunshine laws while governor.

Scott called out both Snipes and Bucher, and each was named in separate complaints filed Thursday night. Scott refused to take questions from reporters who had been summoned for his remarks.

Scott claimed "left-wing activists have been coming up with more and more ballots out of nowhere."

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