“It’s déjà vu all over again” was one of Yogi Berra’s most quoted sayings. It is being quoted again in the aftermath of last week’s midterm elections in Florida. Just like in 2000, when the outcome of the presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore was at stake, Florida will be ground zero for vote recounts. The difference is that in 2000 the vote margin between the two presidential candidates was razor thin to begin with – just under 1800 votes, which shrank over time to 537. This time, there were clear Republican leads on Election Night in the closely watched Florida races for senator and governor. The leads shrank so dramatically since then that vote recounts were ordered Saturday pursuant to Florida’s election laws. The vote margin shrinkage resulted in large part from the late discovery and delivery of ballots from the Democrat-leaning counties of Broward and Palm Beach. Machine recounts will come first, to be followed by vote recounts by hand if the result of the machine recounts is within a 0.25 percent margin.
In the Florida Senate race, Governor Rick Scott was reported on Election Night to have been ahead of his opponent, Democrat incumbent Bill Nelson, by approximately 60,000 votes. By Sunday afternoon, his lead had mysteriously slipped to around 12,500 votes. Given the track record of the two deliberately laggard counties, particularly Broward County, Governor Scott smelled a combination of fraud and incompetence. As Democrats were sending “an army of lawyers” to Florida with the avowed purpose of winning the election for incumbent Senator Bill Nelson, Governor Scott was accusing the Democrats of foul play. "I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election from the great people of Florida," he said. "Their goal is to keep mysteriously finding votes until the election turns out the way they want." Governor Scott wasted no time in filing lawsuits against officials in Broward and Palm Beach counties over their handling of the ballots and lack of transparency.
Bill Nelson dismissed Rick Scott’s complaints and claimed that the governor “is trying to stop all the votes from being counted.” Lawyers for Nelson filed their own federal lawsuit against Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, claiming irregularities in the signature matching process used to validate provisional ballots. They want all votes cast using vote-by-mail or those "determined to involve a signature mismatch, be counted as valid votes." The Scott campaign accused the Nelson legal team of asking “the federal courts to allow voter fraud. They are asking courts to overrule election officials and accept ballots that were not legally cast."
So far Scott is 2 for 2 in the courts. Circuit Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips sided with Governor Scott in finding that Brenda Snipes, Broward's supervisor of elections who has a murky history when it comes to the handling of ballots, had violated Florida public records laws. Ms. Snipes does not seem to have learned from her past transgressions, including a judge’s rebuke for her destruction of ballots in a 2016 Congressional race too soon. This time Judge Phillips concluded that Ms. Snipes wrongfully denied a request by the Scott campaign for information on the total ballots cast and a breakdown of votes by absentee, early and Election Day vote categories. In the Palm Beach County case, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Krista Marx also ruled in favor of the Scott campaign. The judge ordered that Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher’s office provide more transparency regarding determinations of the validity of mailed-in absentee ballots.
In the Florida governor race, Congressman Ron DeSantis saw his relatively comfortable margin of victory over Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum as of last Wednesday shrink from a bit over 50,000 votes to fewer than 34,000 votes by Sunday. Mr. Gillum retracted his previous concession. "Let me say clearly, I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromising and unapologetic call that we count every single vote," he said.
In both the Senate and governor's race, gross mishandling of ballots and attempts to fraudulently include ballots submitted illegally by non-citizens are among the tactics that the Left appears inclined to use to frustrate the will of the people.
The lead Democrat attorney representing the Nelson campaign in the vote recount, Marc Elias, described the eventual outcome as “a jump ball" that he predicted his client would win. Elias is no stranger to controversial efforts to influence the outcome of an election. While representing Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, Elias hired Fusion GPS with funds from the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to investigate the Trump campaign and its possible ties to Russia. The result was the discredited dossier prepared by Christopher Steele, which was used to secure a FISA court warrant to spy on former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page. Elias also helped to push the former disgraced senator of Minnesota, Al Franken, over the top in a controversial recount back in 2008. Moreover, Elias is joined at the hip with George Soros. He both received donations from the left wing billionaire and joined the board of the Soros-funded Democratic Super PAC known as Priorities USA Action, which had expended money in support of Bill Nelson’s campaign.
Now we are getting a better idea of what both Nelson and Gillum mean when they or their surrogates say they want every single vote counted. Watch out for attempts to count the illegal votes of non-citizens. After all, non-citizens have voted in past Florida elections. As reported by the Daily Caller, a transcript of a Palm Beach County Canvassing Board proceeding shows lawyers purporting to represent Nelson and Gillum registering objections to the exclusion of a provisional ballot submitted by a non-citizen. Gillum’s lawyers had no comment. Marc Elias denied that the lawyer who was present and purporting to represent Nelson was someone the Nelson campaign had authorized to make such an objection. “Non-citizens cannot vote in U.S. elections,” he said. However, what Elias self-servingly says for the benefit of the press and what he actually does are two different things. Just consider his federal lawsuit asking that all provisional ballots and ballots determined to involve a signature mismatch be counted as valid votes. If such ballots are all counted, there would be a gap wide enough for box loads of non-citizen ballots to fit through without timely detection.
To paraphrase what Joseph Stalin was reported to have said about voting, it does not matter what those who vote decide. It only matters who counts the vote. Left wing lawyers and campaign operatives have taken that advice to heart. Their efforts to manipulate the electoral system by hook or by crook, irrespective of the will of the people, must be stopped in its tracks.