A judge on Monday denied Florida Republican Senate nominee Rick Scott’s request that voting equipment in Broward County be impounded for security when not in use, proposing instead that three armed deputies be assigned to increase security at Broward election headquarters.
During an emergency hearing in the lawsuit brought Sunday by Scott’s campaign, his lawyers asked Judge Jack Tuter to impound ballots and machines in Broward County, citing concerns about Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes’s handling of the count, given her past convictions for violating elections law and her office’s failures to report vote counts since last Tuesday’s election.
“What we are asking the court to do today is to remove any doubt. Take away the concerns of the citizens, take away the concerns of the public that this election process will be protected,” said Scott attorney Jason Zimmerman. “We are not asking the Broward County Sheriff’s Office to interfere with any count whatsoever. We are asking the court, when these ballots in these voting machines are not in use, to have someone other than Dr. Snipes, other than someone who listens and reports to Dr. Snipes be a part of the inspection process.”
Scott’s campaign filed lawsuits against Snipes and Palm Beach County elections chief Susan Bucher last week, saying they had failed to provide accurate information on how many ballots are left to count as required by state law. The campaign also requested that all Palm Beach County votes that are counted after Saturday’s deadline to submit an initial ballot count be thrown out.
Scott and his Democratic opponent, incumbent senator Bill Nelson, emerged from Election Day separated by less than half a percentage point in the vote count, triggering an automatic recount under state law. Both sides have taken to court to protect their interests in the days since as the race continues to tighten.