Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum only conceded Florida’s gubernatorial race to his Republican opponent on election night because he had little information at his disposal.
However, this has changed because themargin of victory between him and former Rep. Ron DeSantis has now narrowed to 0.41 percentage point, which is enough to trigger a statewide machine recount.
“Let me say clearly: I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every single vote,” Gillum said at a news conference Saturday. “And I say this recognizing that my fate in this may or may not change.”
Gillum also said that his team has organized at least 100 volunteers and lawyers, who will be spread out across the state to ensure a fair and accurate recount.
“We’re here because we want to make sure that the right that is guaranteed to all of us in our Constitution and certainly in our statutes is protected and that it is maintained,” he said.
At least two other races will be subject to a recount, including the Senate race between Gov. Rick Scott (R) and the incumbent, Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). The margin of victory in that race has narrowed to 0.15 percentage point, meaning it will undergo a manual recount.
As the margin of victory closed in the Senate race, Scott alleged that “rampant fraud” was present in the vote tallying. He called upon the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate ballot counting practices in Broward and Palm Beach counties. He also claimed Brenda Snipes and Susan Bucher, the respective supervisors of elections for those counties, were attempting to “steal” the election from him.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and President Donald Trump also weighed in with allegations of voter fraud and suggested that there would be federal intervention in the state’s recount.
“We don’t get the opportunity to stop counting votes because we don’t like the direction in which the vote tally is headed,” Gillum said Saturday. “That is not democratic and certainly is not the American way. In America, we count every vote regardless of what the outcome may be.”
Rick Scott was up by 50,000+ votes on Election Day, now they “found” many votes and he is only up 15,000 votes. “The Broward Effect.” How come they never find Republican votes?
— Donald J. Trump
I don’t know what’s in this sealed box found this morning by #BrowardSheriff. But this dysfunction in #BrowardElections is not acceptable.
At a minimum it undermines public trust in the election & creates opportunity for mischief.#Sayfie
— Marco Rubio
Republican suspicion has lingered over Democratic-stronghold Broward County, which was the subject of voting irregularities in the infamous 2000 presidential election recount. And while this is enough coincidence for some political observers to have feelings of déjà vu, there are several key differences, according to Barry Richard, who represented Republican candidate George W. Bush in the 2000 Florida recount and is now representing Gillum.
In 2000, the state’s recount system was entirely candidate motivated, meaning there was no recount unless a candidate asked for one. Candidates also had the right to designate which counties would be required to recount their votes. Within days after the 2000 election, at least 47 lawsuits were filed, and the debacle dragged on for 36 days until the Supreme Court settled the election in Bush’s favor over Democrat Al Gore.
“This is not 2000. It’s vastly, vastly different,” Richard said, thanks to Florida’s current election laws
He added that there is no evidence that anyone is committing fraud, nor does he see any reason for federal intervention.
“Speaking generically, the only role of the federal government in state elections is if they violate the United States Constitution or if for some reason they violate some federal law,” Richard said. “At this point — other than the fact that we are always operating under the requirements of the U.S. Constitution — just in general I don’t know of any specific role.”