The election supervisor in Palm Beach County, Florida, rebuked President Donald Trump and Gov. Rick Scott (R) on Friday for claiming without evidence that there was widespread electoral fraud in Scott’s highly contentious Senate race against incumbent Bill Nelson (D), which will likely go to a recount.
“It’s very unfortunate that some of the highest elected officials in our country are trying to disrupt our democracy because they don’t like the demographics of our voters,” the county’s election supervisor, Susan Bucher, told reporters, while her office counted remaining absentee and provisional ballots. “I would wish they would allow us to continue to count the ballots.”
Top Republicans — including Trump, Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio (R) — suggested that there was electoral fraud in Palm Beach County and Broward County, two of the state’s most populous and most diverse counties.
Officials there are still counting remaining provisional and absentee ballots, which is common practice.
But Scott, offering no proof, alleged Thursday that there was “rampant fraud,” claiming that “left-wing activists” were “coming up with more and more ballots out of nowhere.”
He and the National Republican Senatorial Committee sued Bucher and her counterpart in Broward County, Brenda Snipes, over their vote counts.
Trump piled on, claiming on Friday morning that “they are finding votes out of nowhere.” He continued to make unsupported allegations of fraud in a litany of tweets Friday afternoon.
Nelson’s campaign said Scott’s claims were simply a stunt.
“The goal here is to see that all the votes in Florida are counted and counted accurately. Rick Scott’s action appears to be politically motivated and born out of desperation,” Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin said in a statement.
The state’s Senate race and governor’s race, between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum, are likely headed toward recounts regardless of outcomes, as the margins in both races will likely be less than 0.5 percent, the threshold under state law for a recount, ordered by the secretary of state.
The counties have until Saturday to count the remaining ballots and submit their unofficial results.