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Florida judge rejects Rick Scott’s evidence-free allegations of ‘voter fraud’

Maybe we should just count all the votes?

Florida Governor Rick Scott and President Donald Trump (Nicoals Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)
Florida Governor Rick Scott and President Donald Trump (Nicoals Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

On Monday, a Florida judge rejected Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s latest claims of election fraud in the state’s still-undecided Senate race.

Scott is currently clinging to a narrow lead over incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D) — as of this writing, the two men are separated by about 12,500 votes out of over 8 million cast. Scott’s apparent lead has shrunk since the partial tallies on election night, in no small part because heavily Democratic Broward County is still counting votes.

Rather than allow this vote count to play out, however, Scott filed a lawsuit insisting that election officials in Broward and Palm Beach Counties “turn over custody of their vote-tabulation machines and ballots to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and sheriff’s deputies during times when votes aren’t being counted.” On Monday, a state trial judge rejected this request, at least with respect to Broward.

The judge’s determination that there’s no evidence of fraud is unsurprising. Republican officials often complain of voter fraud to justify laws making it harder to cast a ballot, but these allegations rarely have any substance.

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Supporters of voter ID laws, for example, claim that these laws are necessary to prevent voter impersonation fraud at the polls. But poll workers are almost exactly as likely to encounter a literal vampire on Election Day as they are to be confronted by a voter pretending to be someone else.

A Wisconsin study, for example, found only seven cases of fraud among the 3 million votes cast in the state’s 2004 election, and none were in-person voter impersonation. Similarly, in 2014, former Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz (R) conducted a two-year investigation and uncovered zero cases of in-person voter fraud.

Nevertheless, Republicans like Scott insist on throwing out groundless allegations of fraud in an apparent effort to prevent Democratic ballots from being counted.