In Rick Scott lawsuit, judge orders Broward County elections official to immediately release public records

Voting booths in Leon County
Voting booths in Leon County. Mitch Perry/Florida Phoenix

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A Broward County judge on Friday sided with Gov. Rick Scott, who sued Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes over public records Friday. (To see our previous coverage of the lawsuit, go here.)

The judge ruled that Snipes was in violation of Florida’s public records law, and ordered that she turn over records by 7 pm Friday night, according to reporting by the New York Times Friday.

Florida Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is among the Republican leadership – including President Donald Trump – piling on to criticize the Broward elections supervisor because vote tallies are slow or missing three days after Tuesday’s election.

As votes continued to be tallied statewide, Scott’s lead over Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson keeps shrinking. The margin of difference between Scott and Nelson is now just .18 percent – a difference of 15,068 votes. That margin makes the race subject to an automatic recount. Unofficial vote tallies are due to the state Saturday at noon – unless a federal judge makes a last-minute ruling.

Rubio blasted Snipes Friday because she said she didn’t know how many ballots remain to be counted as the Saturday noon deadline to turn in Tuesday night’s election results gets closer, calling it “an embarrassment.”

“In the case of early voting that ended Sunday, they should have been uploaded and ready to send. The fact that there are still early votes still outstanding in Broward County is an outrage,” Rubio said on a conference call late Friday afternoon.

Tim Cerio, an attorney for the Scott campaign, claimed to have seen some “shocking” developments while observing the Broward elections office over the past couple of days, including watching when Snipes “illegally tabulated” 200 questionable ballots without them being examined by the Broward County canvassing board.

Friday, a Palm Beach Circuit judge also granted a request by Gov. Rick Scott’s lawyers that calls for any ballot deemed defective by Broward  elections officials to be turned over to the local election canvassing board to determine validity, the New York Times reported.

Rubio also said that Scott should “seriously consider” removing Snipes from office after the current situation is resolved.

Meanwhile, the campaign for the multi-millionaire Scott is sending out repeated fundraising appeals to get people to donate to fund his legal fight for the coming recount.

Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry has spent the past 18 years covering news and politics in the Sunshine State, most recently with FloridaPolitics.com. He worked for five years as the political editor of Creative Loafing in Tampa, and before that he was the assistant news director at WMNF radio, where he served as creator/anchor/producer of the hour-long WMNF Evening News. A San Francisco native, Mitch began his career at KPFA Radio in Berkeley in the 1990's.
Diane Rado
Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.

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