With the machine recounts finished — reportedly resulting in a net gain for Republican Rick Scott of 41 votes, putting him ahead of Bill Nelson by 12,603 votes, and a one-vote gain for Democrat Andrew Gillum, which leaves him still trailing Ron DeSantis by 33,683 votes — and the hand recounts underway, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio sounded the alarm over potential voter fraud by Democrat officials.
“No evidence of fraud in #FloridaElection?” wrote Rubio in a post Thursday. “Dems got voters to use altered forms to fix & submit as many mail ballots as possible after FL deadline in hopes that a judge would later order state to count them. Today that’s exactly what a federal judge did.”
Rubio linked to a story by the Naples Daily News, which detailed an effort by Democrats to swing the election outcome by giving Democrat voters altered absentee ballots with the hopes of getting a judge to admit them. “A day after Florida’s election left top state races too close to call, a Democratic party leader directed staffers and volunteers to share altered election forms with voters to fix signature problems on absentee ballots after the state’s deadline,” the outlet reports.
The forms were discovered in Broward, Santa Rosa, Citrus and Okaloosa counties and reported to federal prosecutors for review for possible election fraud. USA Today obtained an email that “shows that Florida Democrats were organizing a broader statewide effort beyond those counties to give voters the altered forms to fix improper absentee ballots after the Nov. 5 deadline. Democratic party leaders provided staffers with copies of a form, known as a ‘cure affidavit,’ that had been modified to include an inaccurate Nov. 8 deadline.”
A Democratic activist in Palm Beach admitted that the goal was to have voters submit as many of these altered absentee ballots as possible after the election deadline with the hope of a judge admitting them. The Naples Daily News provides more details:
An email that Jennifer Kim, Florida Democratic Party’s central deputy field director, sent Nov. 7 to party workers instructing them how to give voters an altered form to fix signature problems with their absentee ballots after the state deadline. Kim’s email shows this is a statewide effort to give voters the altered form with the wrong deadline to return it. The altered forms have turned up in several counties and have been turned over to federal prosecutors to review for possible election fraud.
U.S. Chief Judge Mark Walker ruled Thursday that voters should have until Saturday to correct signatures on ballots, a move that could open the door for these ballots returned with altered forms to be counted. Republicans supporting Gov. Rick Scott, who leads U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson by less than 13,000 votes in the recount, appealed the ruling.
Rubio has been calling attention to the sketchy behavior of Broward and Palm Beach Counties for the last week, as more and more reports revealed questionable behavior by elections officials and a judge determined that both counties had violated Florida law in the counting process.