A Broward County Senate Steal?
Democrats have a hard time accepting electoral defeat. They’ve spent two years claiming with little evidence that Vladimir Putin elected Donald Trump. And now comes a vote-counting debacle in southern Florida that is at best gross incompetence, though don’t rule out an attempt to steal GOP wins for Senate and Governor.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott is about 15,000 votes ahead of Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson for a seat in the Senate. That puts the race in range of an automatic recount under state law. But at 11:30 p.m. on election night, Mr. Scott led by 57,000 votes. The same trend is happening in the gubernatorial race that went for Republican Ron DeSantis over progressive Andrew Gillum, though neither race appeared to be heading for a recount on election night.
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The spread has narrowed in the past couple days by what can only be described as a suspect process in notorious Broward County. Three days after Election Day the county wasn’t finished reporting results from early voting, which ended on Sunday.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio was among the first to note the irregularities. Broward won’t disclose how many ballots are left, and “isn’t reporting hourly or regularly, but rather releasing thousands of additional votes, often in the overnight hours, that are chipping away at GOP leads,” as Senator Rubio put it.
On Thursday a teacher in Broward found a container labeled “Provisional Ballot Box” in a storage area of an elementary school that had been a polling station. The Sun-Sentinel reported Friday that a Broward County election official said there were no ballots in the box, which would be more reassuring if country officials were more transparent.
The heavily Democratic Broward and Miami-Dade counties are infamous for election shenanigans, including “hanging chads” in the 2000 recount for George W. Bush and Al Gore. The official overseeing the process is supervisor Brenda Snipes. A court ruled that she had illegally destroyed ballots in 2016. Other Broward follies include ballot misprints, posting results before polls closed and more.
Mr. Scott and the National Republican Senatorial Committee are suing Ms. Snipes for failing to disclose public records such as “how many electors voted, how many ballots have been canvassed, and how many ballots remain to be canvassed.”
Such basic transparency exists to assure voters that the process is fair even when they don’t like the outcome. A Broward County judge ruled late Friday for Mr. Scott that Broward had to turn over these vote totals by 7 p.m., underscoring the illegality of Ms. Snipes’s failure to disclose basic voter information.
Democratic lawyer Marc Elias has parachuted in to run Senator Nelson’s vote-counting, and Mr. Elias is making much of the oddity that 24,000 ballots in Broward County voted for Governor but not Senate. But that could simply mean that those voters didn’t like either Senate candidate. Trying to infer voter preference from a blank slate is election fraud.
Mr. Gillum tweeted that counting votes “isn’t partisan—it’s democracy,” and Democrats are repeating the mantra to “count every vote.” But votes are supposed to be counted under consistent rules and practice, not discovered in haphazard fashion after the fact and dribbled out in violation of the law. Given the history of Broward, the partisanship of its officials and their behavior so far, the burden of proof is on Democrats to prove the count is honest.
And if enough votes suddenly appear to give Democrats a victory in either race, Republicans will have every right to be skeptical. For all the Democratic talk about preserving “democratic norms,” no one has done more to raise doubts about the integrity of elections than Democrats who can’t seem to accept that sometimes in a democracy you lose close elections.
Source : The Editorial Board Link