Emergency court hearings were held in two Florida counties Friday, as the furor over Tuesday’s senate election showed no signs of abating and a recount seemed certain.
In Palm Beach County and Broward County, two Democratic strongholds where the vote total has substantially increased since Nov. 6 in favor of incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, state courts heard arguments related to lawsuits filed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who claimed victory on election night.
A district judge in Palm Beach County ruled in favor of Mr. Scott and ordered the elections supervisor, a former Democratic state representative, to submit “overvoted” and “undervoted” absentee ballots to the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board for an open and public review before they are counted.
The Scott campaign had alleged county officials in the heavily Democratic county had been conducting their business behind soundproof glass and without allowing outside party officials or attorneys to be present, had withheld information from the public about their actions and the votes they were counting, and allowed staffers to determine a voter’s intent without a review by the Canvassing Board.
A second emergency in a Broward County courthouse questioned the behavior of the election supervisor there, Brenda Snipes, a Democrat.
Mr. Scott’s lead stood at nearly 60,000 votes as of Tuesday night, but it has been whittled to barely more than 15,000, according to myriad reports.
It’s unclear, though, exactly what votes have been counted in counties still unable to produce a final tally, where those votes have been held and the process by which their validity has been determined.
In Broward County, the total number of votes in unofficial tallies has increased by almost 90 percent since Election Night.
Lawyers for the Democrats insist every vote that has been added since Tuesday night is legitimate and that the process has been one in which the only and paramount goal is to ensure no person is disenfranchised.
All unofficial county totals must be reported Saturday. If the margin between the candidates is less than 0.5 percent, a machine recount is required by state law; a hand recount is triggered if the margin slips below 0.25 percent.
More than 8 million votes have currently been recorded.