Dems urge Florida to break vote-count deadline to review all ballots

November 13, 2018 GMT

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Tuesday urged Florida election officials to ignore a Sunday deadline for the ongoing vote recount, saying the deadline was meant for presidential elections, not Senate races.

“If it takes a little while to count them, count them we must. That’s what democracy demands,” Mr. Schumer said in a brief statement to reporters in Washington.

He had just met with Sen. Bill Nelson, the Florida Democrat who trails by some 12,000 votes. That’s close enough that the race is in the midst of an automatic recount, where Democrats hope to discover enough uncounted or miscounted votes to swing the race.

Gov. Rick Scott, the Republican who is leading Mr. Nelson right now, has said he suspects shenanigans in the counting, particularly after the elections supervisor in Broward County took a long time for the initial count and was accused of polluting the ballots by mixing bad ones in with good ones.

Florida is no stranger to election drama, having been the site of the 2000 recount on which the presidential election hung.

After that fiasco, the state implemented a rule setting a firm deadline for any recount, and that’s looming this weekend.

But Mr. Schumer said that deadline shouldn’t apply.

“In the Senate race there is no Electoral College. That means supervisors of the elections should have all the time they need to count every Floridian’s ballot and make sure the candidate with the most votes is actually seated in January, even if the vote count has to go beyond Sunday,” he said.

Mr. Schumer and Mr Nelson also called on Mr. Scott to recuse himself from any elections decisions.

The Scott campaign said earlier this week that he doesn’t have any direct role in the count so there’s nothing to recuse himself from.