Less than 24 hours after Gov. Rick Scott called for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate “rampant fraud” in his U.S. Senate race, the department said that there are no voter fraud allegations to look into and that Scott made no formal request for an investigation.
“FDLE is working with the Department of State and we will investigate any allegations of criminal activity or fraud,” FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger told TPM. “This morning we spoke with the Department of State and they indicated that at this time they had no allegations of fraud.”
“So we offered our assistance in the event that any criminal allegations are identified,” Plessinger added.
Politico and local newspapers including the Miami Herald first reported this development.
Scott, aided by other Republicans including President Trump, have accused the elections supervisors in Broward and Palm Beach counties of violating state law by withholding information about ballot counts as the Senate race remains too close to call. Scott sued Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher and Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes on Thursday night.
In a fiery press conference outside the Governor’s Mansion, Scott blamed “unethical liberals” for swinging the election results in their favor and said he was asking FDLE to investigate the two elections officials.
But according to the FDLE’s Plessinger, Scott never actually issued a formal request.
“Under Florida law he does have the ability to direct us to do an investigation, but it’s in writing to our executive director or our commissioner and that has not been done yet,” Plessinger told TPM.
Scott currently leads Nelson by only 15,000 votes, well under the threshold for an automatic recount to be triggered under state law. The initial count of votes has not yet been completed, as ballots in these populous, Democratic-leaning counties are still being counted.
But Republican politicians and activists are accusing officials of trying to interfere with the results, gathering outside Snipes’ office for a boisterous protest on Friday afternoon. The crowd chanted “lock her up” and carried signs reading “stop creating votes.”