Gov. Rick Scott asked state law enforcement to investigate Broward County election officials because of potential “rampant [voter] fraud,” even though monitors from his own administration say they have seen none in that county. “Our staff has seen no evidence of criminal activity at this time,” Department of State spokeswoman Sarah Revell wrote in an email on Saturday. Scott is the state’s current governor and the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate with a narrow lead over incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) That assessment, which was first reported by the Miami Herald, jives with that given by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which said Friday it has also seen no allegations of fraud.
Despite his own administration and state law enforcement saying there is no evidence of voter fraud, Scott held an event organized by his Senate campaign Thursday night to ask the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate Broward County and Palm Beach County, which are playing a big role in a recount involving his race against Nelson.
Those counties have drawn the ire of many Republicans, who have cried fraud because vote counts have increased by tens-of-thousands after Election Day. Because those are Democratic-leaning counties, the new votes have benefited Democratic candidates, narrowing leads held by Scott in the Senate race and Republican Ron DeSantis in the governor’s race. Some have suggested fraud might have caused the vote tallies to grow, but state law allows local election officials to count votes until noon on Saturday. A recount is set to begin Saturday.
The unprecedented Scott request amounts to a sitting governor asking state law enforcement to investigate local election officials involved in counting ballots for a race in which he is a candidate.