The rhetoric is always pointed, and the emotions so quickly brought to the surface. Frequently, if not outright consistently, the accusation from Democrats is that the GOP often engages in voter suppression, vote tampering, or voter fraud. These charges are leveled by politicians, and they are echoed fervently by the media. Note the lack of application of evidence, or lack of curiosity of the rules. Frequently the call for election officials to follow the law is what is signaled as “suppression”.
Note also the lack of presentation of evidence to the contrary when it exists.
On Tuesday the Bill Nelson squadron of lawyers filed a rushed lawsuit calling for the courts to invalidate existing deadlines for recounts. They call the deadline arbitrary, even though it existed for a long time. The reasoning is, numerous issues have developed, and more time is needed ... even though many of those issues were self-created in Democratic precincts.
In truth, “arbitrary” would be the call to vacate an existing law because it is deemed inconvenient to your desired ends. “Arbitrary” is defined by any new deadline suggested, as it would then fit a personal goal.
You have to wonder why the media doesn't want to preserve the sanctity and longevity of Florida election law when Bill Nelson is involved. It began immediately after the election. Many outlets displayed headlines when Bill Nelson “demanded” there be a ballot recount. The state already has laws established for recounts triggered by the vote margin, but it was lost on many reporters. Also overlooked: Nelson held no sway over the electoral process, and his “demand” was no more than lip service.
In similar fashion was the dutiful reporting of Nelson calling for Rick Scott to recuse himself from the recount process. Florida election law places the responsibility of precinct operations, and the recounts, in the hands of locally elected officials. Gov. Scott has no influence on the recount process. The only task Scott held was as a sitting member on the state canvassing board, which verifies the totals as they come in from the counties, but that is a post he has stepped away from because his race is involved.
You can almost hear the chuckle, as Scott responded to this latest demand: “I recused myself from certifying results on the Elections Canvassing Commission in 2014, and I will do so again this year. This is nothing new. Bill Nelson is confused and doesn’t even know how Florida works. I have no role in supervising/overseeing the ongoing recount process.”
The press excitedly pumps these reports like a battlefield medic trying to restore life to a dying soldier -- while pushing the parallel narrative that the GOP is trying to deny votes. However, the stark reality revealed in the myriad lawsuits filed is how frequently the lawyers for the Democrats are arguing against established voting legislation.
Along with Nelson's attempt to rewrite the voting deadline, he has another suit in federal court challenging the law that invalidates mail-in ballots for mismatched signatures. As the lawyers have argued, they seek that any ballots “determined to involve a signature mismatch be counted as valid votes.” Nelson needs the votes, so let's chuck legal standards.
In yet another suit, Democratic Party lawyers were awarded a decision by Obama-appointed Judge Mark Walker. That ruling has the deadline for corrective action on provisional and mail-in ballots extended to this Saturday, Nov. 17. That decision is being appealed by the Scott campaign.
The significance of this ruling is that Democrats in four counties sent out instructions to voters that were altered to show a date past the deadline. Using what they dubbed a “cure affidavit,” Democratic leaders changed the deadline date on the state forms, with the expectation a judge would rule to extend the date, a clear play to maximize returns. The state document is in its unaltered condition here.
This was a direct violation of election laws. Official state offices have indicated the Florida Democratic Party was responsible for the forms that were altered and mailed out. The intent appears to have confused voters, and when the court granted the deadline extension to honor the integrity of the voters’ intent, Nelson and the Dems got their way.
Nelson's clear practice and his phalanx of lawyers across the state is now obvious. They are so desperate to wring out any and all additional votes they can find, they have to run to the courts to have laws overturned. All the while the water-carriers in the media position Nelson as the put-upon hero of the electorate, and the GOP as the vote-suppressing villains ... because they want Florida election law to be followed.
Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the entertainment industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist