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By Ali Vitali and Doha Madani
TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday evening filed suit and asked for an investigation into ongoing ballot counts that he accused of being a partisan attempt by “unethical liberals” to steal the state’s Senate election.
Scott, who ran against incumbent Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson, alleged that the Broward County and Palm Beach County supervisors of elections were engaging in “rampant fraud.”
The governor requested that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigate the new ballot counts, which have narrowed his Election Night-lead.
“Every day since the election the left-wing activists in Broward County have been coming up with more and more ballots out of nowhere,” Scott told reporters.
The tight Senate race was too close to call on Tuesday night, but as more votes were processed, Scott’s lead fell below .5 percent, which could trigger an automatic machine recount. It is currently .2 percent — fewer than 22,000 votes, according to NBC News. A final vote count is expected by noon on Saturday.
“I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try and steal this election from the great people of Florida,” Scott told reporters Thursday.
The National Republicans Senatorial Committee joined Scott on Thursday to file suit against both Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes and Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher. Scott alleges that the supervisors have violated federal and state laws by failing to provide information to officials.
A judge ruled in May of this year that Snipes had illegally destroyed votes during a 2016 election and Scott said at the time he would send experts to Broward for the upcoming elections, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Scott also had harsh words for Nelson, who hired a lawyer after election night. Scott accused Nelson of bringing in an attorney to “try to steal the election and try to thwart the will of the voters of Florida.”
Nelson responded to Scott’s accusations on Twitter, calling the move desperate.
“The goal here is to see that all the votes in Florida are counted and counted accurately,” Nelson wrote. “Rick Scott’s action appears to be politically motivated and borne out of desperation.”
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, who may also be headed into a recount, also tweeted about Scott’s decision. Gillum wrote that “counting votes isn’t partisan — it’s democracy” and insisted that the state should count every vote.
President Donald Trump also tweeted about the press conference, claiming Florida voted for Scott.
“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 posted.