ORLANDO, Fla. – In the event of an election recount, the official results are typically certified by the state's governor and two cabinet members chosen by the governor. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, whose race with Gov. Rick Scott for his Senate seat has now moved to a machine recount, does not intend to let that happen in Florida.
On Monday, Nelson released an official statement calling on Scott to recuse himself from having any role in Florida's recount process. In the statement, Nelson said Scott's removal is necessary in order for Floridians to "have confidence in the integrity of the election."
The race between the two and races for Florida's governor and agriculture commissioner were officially ordered to machine recounts Saturday.
The results of the machine recounts constitute the second set of results, which are due to the secretary of state by 3 p.m. Thursday. If those results show any races within a 0.25 percentage point margin of difference between candidates, those races will be ordered to a hand recount, the results of which will go to be certified by the governor.
The Senate and agriculture commissioner races are both within the hand recount margin. That means if the secretary of state orders the hand recount, Scott will be certifying the results of his own race.
Nelson's objections are primarily to how Scott has spoken about the recount both leading up to it and after it was ordered.
“He’s thrown around words like 'voter fraud' without any proof,” Nelson said. “He’s...tried to use the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the Broward elections chief. He's filed lawsuits to try and stop votes from being counted and to impound voting machines."
Both Scott's and Nelson's campaigns have filed lawsuits related to voting.
Scott brought lawsuits against both the Broward County and Palm Beach County supervisors of elections, alleging both offices mismanaged votes. Nelson sued the Florida Department of State in an effort to count mail-in ballots that were postmarked before Election Day but not delivered before the polls closed Tuesday.
Though Scott's campaign has yet to publicly comment on Nelson's call for recusal, a spokesman said Nelson's lawyer, Marc Elias, "seems to be content filing frivolous and laughable lawsuits."