TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Rick Scott's Senate campaign is suing the Broward County elections supervisor to turn over records regarding how ballots are being counted.
Scott's campaign and the National Republican Senatorial Committee filed a lawsuit late Thursday demanding that Broward Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes be ordered to turn over several records detailing the counting and collection of ballots cast in Tuesday's election. They are seeking an emergency hearing as the votes must be certified by noon Saturday.
The lawsuit was filed as Scott asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate elections offices in Palm Beach and Broward counties. The agency said it will follow up on his request.
Scott has a narrow lead over incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and the race may be headed to a recount. His lead narrowed as final ballots in heavily Democratic Broward and Palm Beach counties were counted Wednesday and Thursday.
No one answered at Snipes' office late Thursday. Nelson campaign spokesman Dan McLaughlin issued a statement saying that all votes should be counted accurately and that Scott's action "appears to be politically motivated and borne out of desperation."
A spokesman for Nelson's campaign provided Channel 9 with the following statement:
"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 borne out of desperation."
President Donald Trump weighed in on the hotly contested race, citing the possibility of election fraud.
"Law Enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in Broward and Palm Beach. Florida voted for Rick Scott," Trump said on Twitter.
Scott held a 0.18 percentage point lead over Nelson on Friday morning.
Every election office in the state has until Saturday to turn in their unofficial vote totals. That includes mail-in and provisional ballots. Election officials are also looking for ballots that didn't go through the machine properly, or had a processing mistake.
University of Central Florida political science professor, Aubrey Jewett, said since this is the first time Florida has ever had a potential recount since new laws were created after the 2000 presidential election, it's unclear if a recount may favor one party over another.
But, Jewett said, the fact that votes are still being counted can have a major impact.
"Broward and Palm Beach counties are some of the most Democratic counties in the state. So as more and more ballots are counted there, Democrats are gaining votes and that margin of being ahead for the Republicans is shrinking," he said.
Law Enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in #Broward and Palm Beach. Florida voted for Rick Scott!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2018
#BREAKING Rick Scott announces lawsuit against Broward County Elections Supervisor! He accuses incumbent Bill Nelson of trying to steal election, as he calls for FDLE investigation! Live coverage on #TV27at10 & #WFTVat11 @WFTV pic.twitter.com/UWNZ0abIwR— Ken Tyndall (@KenTyndallWFTV) November 9, 2018
.@ScottforFlorida ended by saying, “I am proud to be the next Senator from the State of Florida and look forward to going up there and making Washington work for all Americans." pic.twitter.com/qinHZfLE2F— Karla Ray (@KRayWFTV) November 9, 2018
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