Politics

Chuck Schumer Says Florida Recount Votes Should Be Counted Past Sunday if Needed

Minority leader appeared alongside incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson on Tuesday

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., arrive to make statements about the ballot recount in the Florida Senate race on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“We will not have a re-run of 2000.”

That was what Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Tuesday, speaking of the handling of the recounting of ballots in Florida.

Schumer said that local elections officials should not be bound by a Sunday deadline to complete a manual recount in Florida’s too-close-to-call Senate race, as provided under Florida law.

The Democrat from New York, appearing alongside Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., outside the minority leader’s suite on the second floor of the Capitol Tuesday, said that there is no pressing deadline like a meeting of the Electoral College, as was the case in the aftermath of the 2000 presidential election in Florida and the legal battle over Bush v. Gore, which ended with the Supreme Court decision that paved the way for George W. Bush’s win over Al Gore

“Fortunately, with a Senate race, there is no Electoral College. That means supervisors of the elections should have all the time they need to count every Floridian’s ballot to make sure the candidate with the most votes is actually seated in January,” Schumer said. “Even if the vote count has to go beyond Sunday.”

Military and overseas ballots needed to be sent by Election Day, but they may still arriving.

On the current timetable, an automatic machine recount is due to be completed by Thursday with a hand recount of ballots still in question to take place after that.

“This process is about one thing: making sure that every legal ballot is counted, protecting the right of every Floridian to participate in our democracy,” said Nelson, who was trailing his challenger, Republican Gov. Rick Scott, as counting continued.

Scott is expected at the Capitol on Wednesday, where he will be joining in a Senate Republican Conference meeting to get ready for the 116th Congress, including leadership elections.

Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have grown beyond frustrated with the pace of the vote-counting, especially in heavily Democratic Broward County.

The Senate Democrats said Tuesday that neither Trump nor Scott were acting as honest brokers.

“He has thrown around words like ‘voter fraud’ with no proof,” Nelson said of Scott.

“Gov. Scott needs to recuse himself from any involvement in the recount, and do it now. He’s a contestant in this election and can’t possibly be trusted to be a neutral, fair arbiter as the votes are tallied,” Schumer said.

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