Law & the Courts

Scott Campaign Asks Secretary of State to Accept Broward Recount Despite Missed Deadline

Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks at a campaign rally with President Trump in Estero, Fla., October 31, 2018. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Update 3:23p.m.: The Florida Department of State confirmed in a statement to National Review that they will include the additional ballots awarded to Scott during the machine recount as part of the manual recount that will conclude Sunday at noon.

Florida governor Rick Scott’s Senate campaign has asked Secretary of State Ken Detzner to validate Broward County’s machine-recount vote totals despite election officials’ having turned in the recount numbers two minutes after the 3 p.m. deadline.

The recount awarded 469,949 votes to incumbent Democratic senator Bill Nelson and 210,513 votes to Scott, a 779-vote improvement for the Republican candidate relative to the initial count.

“The law is very clear,” the Scott campaign’s recount attorney, Tim Cerio, wrote in a letter to Detzner. “When a canvassing board completes a recount process by the statutory deadline, as it did today in a public meting in Broward County, those results are valid. Any administrative failure after it finishes, is irrelevant to whether or not the canvassing board completed its process.”

Should Broward officials fail to meet the Sunday deadline for the manual recount currently underway, the official total will revert to whatever count was last received by Detzner’s office. Unless Detzner is sympathetic to Cerio’s appeal, he will resort to using the initial count, rather than the machine recount.

Joe D’Alessandro, the director of elections for Broward County, told reporters Thursday that he missed the deadline due to his unfamiliarity with the Department of State website used to submit votes.

“Basically, I just worked my a** off for nothing,” D’Alessandro said. “We uploaded to the state two minutes late so the state has chosen not to use our machine-recount results. They are going to use our first unofficial results as our second unofficial results.”

Scott, however, has accused embattled Broward elections officials of intentionally missing the deadline to ensure he didn’t benefit from the additional 779 votes awarded to him in the machine recount.

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