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Did Florida Election Officials Break The Law?

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott has requested that law enforcement agencies, including the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, investigate potential fraudulent activity in Broward and Palm Beach counties in his race for the Senate.

The Department reportedly initially responded that, while it is not investigating any matters directly related to the November 6 election, it had reached out to the Florida Department of State to offer assistance with any investigation that specifically involves the collection and tabulation of votes.

Several days later, the head of Florida’s top law enforcement agency then reported that the agency was conducting a preliminary inquiry into the election. The Department of State also informed the agency that they have not received any allegations of criminal activity as it relates to the election.

Closely Divided Senate Race & Newfound Votes

A statewide recount is currently underway, with the divide between Scott and his running opponent Sen. Nelson being within a .25 percent margin (i.e. Nelson is trailing by approximately 13,000 votes), meaning that the race would first go to a machine recount and then a hand recount, if the margin holds.

The controversy started after officials found and added thousands of votes days after the election passed for the two heavily Democratic counties, which them reduced statewide leads for several Republican candidates. Proof of fraud would require evidence of intent by officials. According to officials within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, a written order from the governor for the Department to pursue a misconduct investigation of an elections supervisor or other public officials is all that is needed to open an investigation.

Legal Violations & Criminal Activity?

Scott and several other Republicans have also cited a series of state laws and procedures, accusing election officials of violating them in Broward and Palm Beach. Attorney General Pam Bondi has ordered the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate to determine whether there were any potential documented irregularities, and if so, whether they were a reflection of incompetence or intentional malfeasance and fraud.

There are also two other statewide recounts underway, including the race for agriculture commissioner and for the governor’s race. While, initially, Ron DeSantis led Andrew Gillum in the governor’s race by almost 72,000 votes, in the final count, DeSantis only led Gillum by less than 34,000 votes; a close enough tally to warrant a recount; similarly to the close divide between Scott and Nelson.

Contact Our Florida Criminal & Civil Rights Attorneys to Find Out More

If you have suffered a loss of your civil rights—such as your right to vote—contact one of our Florida experienced civil rights attorneys at the Baez Law Firm today to find out how we can help.

Resources:

cnn.com/2018/11/09/politics/florida-election-no-allegation-of-criminal-activity/index.html

naplesnews.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/11/13/top-law-enforcement-officer-state-probe-underway-florida-election/1988516002/

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