There is no question that “there was flagrant violation of the law” during Florida’s election, the state’s governor-elect Ron DeSantis (R) told Fox News in his first interview after Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum (D) conceded the race on Saturday.
Florida’s election saw a bitter campaign marred by racist innuendo and malfunctioning voting machines in majority Democratic precincts. And even after winning the race following contentious recounts, DeSantis maintained Republican claims that crimes had been committed during the election.
Speaking to the Justice With Judge Jeanine program on Fox late Saturday, DeSantis celebrated his “re-election” win while also criticizing balloting and early voting. “I don’t think there was any question that there was flagrant violation of the law,” the Florida US congressman said.
“Some of these votes that were counted late, a day or two after the election, were supposedly cast during early voting and they were just never reported as having been cast,” he continued. “And we have a lot of transparency and legal requirements precisely because that’s what confers legitimacy to these results.”
DeSantis won the governor’s race after a legally mandated ballot recount was completed on Saturday following the initial November 6 results were too close to call. Recounts were also ordered in two other Florida races, meaning the state had to review 8.2 million ballots in just five days.
DeSantis pointed to two counties in particular: Broward and Palm Beach, which also saw vote-counting problems in the 2000 presidential race. He told Fox News that what happened in these two counties “really tarnished the image of the state.”
Last week, current Republican Governor Rick Scott also claimed without evidence that there was rampant fraud in both Broward and Palm Beach counties, blaming Democrats specifically.
Despite these claims by Scott and DeSantis, officials have found no instances of voter fraud.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokesman Jeremy Burns, for instance, said that he was told there are “no indications of fraud” and so they won’t be investigating the issue. Election monitors in Broward County also have seen no evidence of criminal activity, a Florida Department of Election spokesperson told the Miami Herald.
At the same time, Broward Circuit Judge Jack Tuter called for the rhetoric on criminality to be toned down. “These words mean things these days,” he said, “as everybody in the room knows.”
While Gillum didn’t hint at his future plans post the election and the end of his mayoral term, he did give a nod to the ongoing tensions surrounding voter fraud. Upon conceding, he called for updating the state’s election system to “bring it into the 21st century.”