Since a statewide recount was ordered last week for three major races in Florida, lawsuits have been filed all over the state. The statewide races being recounted: Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson for Nelson’s Senate seat; Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum for governor, and Democrat Nikki Fried and Republican Matt Caldwell for state agriculture commissioner. Here’s a look at some of the key lawsuits filed so far.
Republican Rick Scott and the National Republican Senatorial Committee vs. Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes
On Thursday, Gov. Scott held a press conference in the governor’s mansion and accused “unethical liberals” of trying to steal the race for U.S. Senate from him. His campaign filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging Snipes refused to release details on voting tabulations.
Scott’s campaign claimed Snipes violated public records laws by not complying with its requests for voter and ballot information, according to the suit in Broward Circuit Court.
Status: An emergency court hearing was held Friday. Broward Circuit Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips ordered Snipes to release the number of ballots cast in the county, broken down by absentee, early and Election Day votes, to Scott’s campaign by 7 p.m. Friday. Snipes complied.
Republican Rick Scott and the National Republican Senatorial Committee vs. Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher
Scott’s campaign on Thursday sued Bucher, claiming she hindered the processing of provisional and absentee ballots. Bucher, according to the suit, refused to allow party representatives “to properly witness Defendant’s processing and duplication of physically damaged absentee ballots,” in violation of state law.
Bucher’s staff also failed to allow the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board to inspect the ballots, violating state law, the suit said.. Her staff determined if the mail-in ballots were valid themselves, according to the suit filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court.
Status: An emergency court hearing was held Friday. Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Krista Marx declared any ballot that Bucher or her staff disqualifies will need to be reviewed by the county’s canvassing board. Marx also ordered Bucher to provide a list of everyone who filed provisional ballots by 4 p.m. Friday. Bucher has yet to comply with the judge’s order.
Democrat Bill Nelson and Democratic Executive Committee vs. Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner
Nelson’s campaign asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida on Thursday for an immediate injunction to force the state to count all mail-in and provisional ballots that are deemed to have a signature mismatch.
The lawsuit wants a judge to declare “that all voters who submit a (vote-by-mail) or provisional ballot, and whose ballots are subsequently determined to involve a signature mismatch, be counted as valid votes.” That would challenge Florida law, which requires officials to reject signatures that don’t match the ones on file.
The plaintiffs also requested Saturday’s deadline to canvass ballots be extended until the legal matter is resolved.
Status: Judge Mark Walker ruled that voters with mismatched signatures have until 5 p.m. Saturday to cure the problem.
Republican Rick Scott vs. Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes and the Broward County Canvassing Board
Scott is suing the defendants to prevent the counting of absentee ballots received after the 7 p.m. deadline on Election Day and that none of those votes should be included in Broward County’s tally.
Status: The case was filed in Broward County. No hearing has been scheduled.
Republican Rick Scott vs. Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes
As elections departments across the state started the recount Sunday, Scott filed for an emergency injunction to allow the sheriff’s deputies and Florida’s Department of Law Enforcement to impound Broward County vote-tabulation machines and ballots while the recount is not under way.
The Broward recount is already secured by police outside and deputies inside, with Democratic and Republican parties and candidates’ campaigns monitoring the entire process. But Scott’s campaign asserted that Snipes’s history of violating state law called into question the integrity of the cote-counting process.
Status: Circuit Judge Jack Tuter denied Scott’s request to impound the machines. Instead, all parties agreed to add three Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies to an existing group of deputies, local police officers and private security guards to oversee the recount of the three races at the Broward election supervisor’s office in Lauderhill.
The judge asked the lawyers on all sides to “ramp down the rhetoric” as he’s seen no evidence of wrongdoing in the vote counting.
Republican Rick Scott vs. Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher
As elections departments across the state started the recount Sunday, Scott filed for an emergency injunction to allow the sheriff’s deputies and Florida’s Department of Law Enforcement to impound Palm Beach County vote-tabulation machines and ballots while the recount is not underway.
Status: One of the Scott campaign’s attorneys, Jason Zimmerman, said that the Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections agreed to add additional law enforcement officers to oversee recount activities.
League of Women Voters, Common Cause and Joanne Lynch Aye vs. Republican Rick Scott
On Monday, the group Protect Democracy sued in federal on behalf of the League of Women Voters, Common Cause and Joanne Lynch Aye, a Broward voter. The group claims Scott is improperly using his position as governor to influence the recount in the U.S. Senate race in which he is a candidate.
Scott, according to the federal lawsuit filed in the Northern District of Florida, is using the powers of his office “to benefit himself and his party and to intimidate the local officials and volunteers conducting the vote count.”
The plaintiffs asked a judge to file a restraining order against Scott, to prohibit him from using his authority in any way to influence the 2018 Senate race.
Senior U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle disqualified himself from the case early Saturday. Chief Judge Mark Walker took over.
Status: A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday morning before Judge Mark Walker in Tallahassee.
VoteVets Action Fund and the Democratic National Committee vs. State of Florida
VoteVets Action Fund, a progressive veterans’ advocacy group, the Democratic National Committee, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee filed a federal suit against the state in the Northern District of Florida on Monday.
Plaintiffs ask that mail-in ballots that were postmarked before Election Day, but not delivered before the polls closed at 7 p.m., be counted. Mail-in ballots cannot be counted if they arrive after 7 p.m. on Election Day, according to Florida law.
The lawsuit is claiming voters should not be faulted for the late delivery of absentee ballots. Nelson’s attorney, Marc Elias, cited the example of a few hundred mail-in ballots that were postmarked before Nov. 6 but got stranded at an Opa-locka postal facility, possibly because of an FBI investigation into a Miami-Dade man who sent pipe bombs through the mail before the election.
Elias said Nelson’s campaign hopes to get post-marked absentees to be counted within 10 days after the election, similarly to overseas military members’ ballots.
Status: Pending before U.S. District Judge Mark Walker in Tallahassee.
Democrat Jim Bonfiglio vs. Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner
Bonfiglio, who was trailing by 37 votes against Republican Mike Caruso for House District 89, filed a suit Tuesday in Leon County Circuit Court seeking to extend the deadline for the machine recount from 3 p.m. Thursday to next Tuesday, Nov. 20.
Nelson’s campaign filed a motion later that day to join Bonfiglio’s lawsuit.
Status: Circuit Judge Karen Gievers suspended certain deadlines for the recount in Palm Beach County not only for Bonfiglio’s statehouse race, but also for three statewide races, including Nelson’s.
Detzner is trying to move the case to federal court in the Northern District of Florida in Tallahassee.
Democrat Bill Nelson for U.S. Senate vs. Ken Detzner et al.
Nelson’s campaign is seeking to have a federal judge in the Northern District of Florida extend the deadlines for machine and manual recounts so that all 67 counties in the state can finish them on time.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, urges U.S. District Judge Mark Walker in Tallahassee to extend the deadlines for an unspecified period of time. Under state law, the machine recounts must be completed by 3 p.m. Thursday and the manual recounts must be completed by noon Sunday.
Status: Walker scheduled a status conference on the suit for 9 a.m. Thursday.
Republican Matthew Caldwell vs. Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes
The Republican candidate for commissioner of agriculture and consumer services filed a suit Friday in Broward County against Snipes, to determine if Snipes “illegally included ballots after polls closed” Nov. 6. If so, Caldwell is asking the state to be remove potentially illegal votes from the electoral tabulation.
His campaign also filed a public-records request for vote counts and emails among Snipes, her team and third-party members regarding the midterm recount.
Status: A hearing hasn’t been scheduled yet.