A state judge sided with Florida Republican Rick Scott on Friday in ordering that the GOP be given “immediate” access to requested information about ballots in Broward County. This comes after Gov. Rick Scott filed a lawsuit against two Florida counties, accusing election supervisors of "rampant fraud" in vote counting.
During an emergency court hearing on Friday afternoon, state Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips ruled there has “been a violation of the Florida constitution,” and the state’s public records act, by not turning over requested records.
Phillips ordered Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes to make possible the “immediate inspection” and “photocopying” of the requested records no later than 7 p.m. Friday.
The news comes as razor-thin margins heighten the possibility of recounts and court battles in the Sunshine State's races for Senate and governor. So far, new ballots pouring in have narrowed Scott's lead over incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
In response, the governor has ordered the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to immediately investigate Broward and Palm Beach counties.
"I will not stand idly by as unethical liberals try to steal this election from the great people of Florida," Scott said.
Official with Shady Track Record Under Scrutiny
It appears fears of fraud may not be unfounded. The National Review reports that Brenda Snipes, the Broward County Board of Elections supervisor, has come under scrutiny for her handling of Tuesday’s elections.
Almost two days after polls closed, Snipes is refusing to disclose the number of county ballots that still need to be counted.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) cited the development as clear evidence that Democrats are in cahoots with Broward County election officials to try and steal the election.
"A U.S. Senate seat & a statewide cabinet officer are now potentially in the hands of an elections supervisor with a history of incompetence & of blatant violations of state & federal laws," the Florida lawmaker wrote in a Twitter post Thursday.
President Donald Trump also weighed in, tweeting, "Law Enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in #Broward and Palm Beach. Florida voted for Rick Scott!"
"All of the sudden they are finding votes out of nowhere," he charged. "What's going on in Florida is a disgrace."
Meanwhile, in the Arizona Senate race, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has pulled ahead of Republican Martha McSally by about 10,000 votes.
"Arizonans must have faith that their votes are counted, and we are working diligently to ensure that count proceeds in a fair, transparent, and timely manner that voters can trust," Sinema for Arizona campaign manager Andrew Piatt said in a statement.