Florida is in the news again with another electoral debacle that started with tight races for governor and Senate and wound up in a recount. But Florida voters hoping their voices are counted may be in for a disappointment: Republicans, led by Governor Rick Scott and the president, are calling the validity of the election into question and trying to shut down the recount while distributing claims of "voter fraud."
Why's the GOP so worried about a recount? Do they think they have something to lose? And why is Governor Rick Scott, who's also running for that contested Senate seat, still being allowed to supervise any aspect of the process?
The GOP says Tuesday's preliminary election results should be good enough for everyone, even though they didn't include thousands of provisional, absentee, and military ballots. And even though the margins in those races were so tight that they couldn't actually be certified. Apparently they think there should be a time limit on election results and people should settle for the outcome of a preliminary count — at least, when there's a chance the Republican candidates might lose.
We think this is wrong. We also think that repeating false claims about "election fraud," maligning state officials, and trying to interfere with the conduct of the recount is wrong and dangerous, undermining the integrity of elections and democracy in Florida.
Rick Scott: It's time to recuse yourself from this process and let state officials handle the recount, which should proceed in an orderly fashion — even if it means extending the completion deadline to make sure every single ballot is verified, and waiting to ensure all outstanding ballots are received and counted. Every Florida voter deserves to be heard, no matter how they voted, and trying to halt the recount is contempt for democracy.
Republicans: Step back and let Florida count and verify its election totals, taking advantage of the perfectly legal oversight options already available to you, including the right to monitor the recount process. Tell your goons to stand down and stop harassing election officials. Whether or not these results are ultimately in your favor, trying to block the recount will leave a permanent stain on their validity, and suggests you don't believe in the most basic and fundamental of American rights.
Photo: Gage Skidmore