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Florida Elections Supervisor Threatens To Arrest Reporters For Covering Ballot Counting

By  Ashe Schow

Leave it to Florida to struggle with an election. Amid the myriad problems going on in the Sunshine State regarding the recent midterm elections, now the Palm Beach County elections supervisor is trying to ban media from covering the public ballot counting and threatening to arrest reporters who attempt to do so.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has been all over the issues going on in Florida, and tweeted Friday evening that “Palm Beach County elections supervisor bans media cameras from public ballot counting & threatens them with arrest.”

“How much more will it take to convince skeptics that what is happening in Palm Beach & #BrowardCounty is not a normal elections process?” Rubio asked.

The article he linked to, from the Palm Beach Post, explains that elections supervisor, Susan Bucher, broke from normal practice by banning cameras from recording the ballot review process, which Gov. Rick Scott — who is waiting to see if he was elected to the senate — accused of “incompetence.”

Bucher claimed reporters were illegally taking photos and videos of signatures on mail ballots, but the reporters said they were filming from a distance and would not show any signatures.

Police were brought in to keep journalists out and block their view.

NBCUniversal, Fox Television, and Scripps Media sued Bucher over her refusal to let the media cover the public event. Marissa Bagg, a reporter for NBC 6 Miami, posted the emergency petition on Twitter, writing that the media outlets were suing “Susan Bucher and the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board for refusing to allow us to record video while they review ballots in a public meeting.”

Bagg followed up her tweet by announcing a judge sided with the outlets.

“[C]ameras are now allowed to record inside room where provisional ballots are being reviewed by canvassing board in Palm Beach County,” she wrote.

Bucher tried to claim Scott’s criticism of her office’s process — and President Donald Trump’s involvement — were motivated by racism.

“It is very unfortunate that some of the highest elected officials in our country are trying to disrupt our democracy because they don’t like the demographics of our voters,” she said. “I would wish that they would allow us to continue to count the ballots. We’re just doing our job in accordance with law.”

Trump is often accused of threatening the freedom of the press, yet here is a county official actually calling for journalists to be arrested for doing their jobs.

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