Trump and Rick Scott Spread Claims of Fraud Without Evidence
Days after midterm voting, as ballots are still being counted, Republican lawmakers holding onto tight leads in midterm states are alleging foul play and voter fraud. The claims were amplified by President Trump, without evidence, on Friday morning.
“You mean they are just now finding votes in Florida and Georgia — but the Election was on Tuesday?” he wrote in a tweet. “Let’s blame the Russians and demand an immediate apology from President Putin!”
You mean they are just now finding votes in Florida and Georgia – but the Election was on Tuesday? Let’s blame the Russians and demand an immediate apology from President Putin!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2018
Current Florida Gov. Rick Scott, locked in a tight Senate race, said in a press conference Thursday night that “the people of Florida deserve fairness and transparency and the supervisors are failing to give it to us.”
“Every Floridian should be concerned there may be rampant voter fraud in Palm Beach and Broward Counties,” he said. “I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election from the great people of Florida.”
Scott’s race against Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson seems to be headed toward triggering a mandatory recount. Florida law says any race within a 0.5 percent margin must go to a recount, and as of 9 a.m. Friday, Nelson trailed Scott by 0.18 percent.
Previous claims of widespread voter fraud, including Trump’s claim that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016, are considered false by voting experts. One investigation, published in 2014, found 31 possible cases of in-person voter fraud out of more than a billion ballots cast over a 14 year period.
Scott claimed victory Tuesday night and has filed lawsuits against two county elections officials, in Palm Beach and Broward Counties, alleging their offices have withheld voting records.
Nelson’s election attorney Marc Elias tweeted Friday that “as the counties continue their work, I expect that margin will narrow further. And then the State will conduct an orderly recount.”
Trump has a history of calling out fraud, without providing evidence to back up his claims. No widespread claim of voter fraud by the president has ever been proven true. Trump even created a commission to investigate alleged fraud after the 2016 election, but it dissolved without releasing any findings.
“They’re finding votes out of nowhere, and Rick Scott who won by — it was close, but he won by a comfortable margin, he easily won but every hour it seems to be going down,” Trump said outside the White House Friday. “I think that people have to look at it very, very cautiously.”
In the case of Florida still counting ballots more than 48 hours after polls closed, David Becker, the executive director for the Center for Election Innovation and Research, told NPR it is extremely common for a voting jurisdiction to be taking as long as Broward County is.
“Election officials are literally just counting the ballots. This isn’t corruption or fraud,” Becker said. “It is literally the best of democracy. Let election officials do their job and count the ballots.”