“The people who cast the votes don’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do.”
That quote has been attributed to Joseph Stalin, but it seems just as applicable in 21st century America as in Soviet-era Russia.
The United States is supposed to be a shining example to the world when it comes to fair, transparent elections … but a controversy in Florida is raising hard questions about our process.
Not one but three races from the midterm elections on November 6 are still undecided in that state, and Broward County has become the epicenter of election meddling claims and lawsuits.
Recounts and accusations of dirty politics have already marred the governor and senate races. Republican Governor Rick Scott has launched two lawsuits to demand transparency in the vote counting process. Now, a third lawsuit by a Republican has also been filed.
The latest Republican to call foul in Florida is Matt Caldwell, who is running for agricultural commissioner. It may not be a flashy position, but the conservative believes that corrupt election officials have meddled with the results.
“Caldwell thought he had edged out a victory in the agricultural commissioner race Tuesday night when he had about a 40,000 vote lead over Democratic candidate Nikki Fried,” reported The Fort Myers News-Press.
“But the latest vote count shows Caldwell losing by 3,120 votes to Fried. The difference between the candidates is .04 percent, signaling an automatic recount, and a likely manual recount,” the paper continued.
So where did all those “phantom” votes for his opponent come from? That’s a very good question, and one that Caldwell is demanding be answered.
“Over the course of the last two and half days, the Broward supervisor has continued to magically find boxes of ballots that have potentially altered the course of the race,” the Republican declared on Friday.
“And after all that time, we still cannot get a straight answer as to where they came from, when they were cast. We just heard there is another magical box of 2,100 ballots they supposedly found here,” Caldwell continued.
“The fact that it’s my opponent’s home county and you continue to have ballots just be found at random times without any explanation I think it just undermines the faith in the entire process and certainly leaves me doubtful about the current count that has been presented out there,” he said.
His lawsuit is now asking the court to protect ballots from being destroyed — which would make it impossible to show election tampering — and to make sure that ineligible ballots cast outside of the legal window are not wrongly counted.
At the center of the controversy is an increasingly familiar name: Brenda Snipes. She is the Broward County Supervisor of Elections, and as we reported yesterday, has already been accused of incompetence and ballot-stuffing by Republicans.
“There is no serious person that looks at this and doesn’t suspect there is something incredibly wrong going here, and we are going to get to the bottom of it by demanding answers through the court of law,” Caldwell said.
He’s right. It may be accidental, it may be incompetence, or it may be purposeful deception, but something is starting to stink in Broward County.
It looks like the proverbial “swamp” may have to be drained from the bottom up. What better place to start than south Florida?
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