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Judge Rules in Rick Scott’s Favor, Says Broward County ‘Violated Constitution’


Florida Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips has ruled that Broward County’s Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes must hand over voting records by 7 p.m. Friday night, as requested by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rick Scott in an emergency filing.

Scott and Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson are locked in a race that remains too close to call.

According to NBC6 reporter Jamie Guirola, Phillips ruled that Broward County “violated [the] constitution by not following open records laws.”

Scott has argued in a court filing that “[t]wo days after voting has concluded, the Supervisor of Elections is unwilling to disclose records revealing how many electors voted, how many ballots have been canvassed, and how many ballots remain to be canvassed.”

“The lack of transparency raises substantial concerns about the validity of the election process,” the filing continued. “An emergency hearing is necessary as the Canvassing Board is obligated to submit the unofficial elections results to the Division of Elections by noon November 10, 2018. A recount in at least two, possibly three, of the statewide races appears likely.”

Scott got his emergency hearing. He argued that the judge should “Declare that the Supervisor of Elections’s failure to provide Plaintiffs with access to the requested public records is unconstitutional and unlawful under the Public Records Act.”

That’s exactly what happened.

“Once again, this court finds that Broward County is under the nation’s microscope because of an election,” Judge Phillips said. “This court finds that there has been a violation of the constitution and the public records act in the withholding of public records.”

According to CBS Miami, Judge Phillips said Snipes must “allow immediate” viewing and copying of requested records. Meanwhile Snipes’ attorney reportedly said that she “never told them she wouldn’t provide the information.” The attorney also said the information requested was “fundamental to count the vote.”

“[The information] should be a matter of record at this time. And it should be immediately available,” Judge Phillips said. 

Sen. Bill Nelson, meanwhile, said in a video that Rick Scott “isn’t telling the truth, which is: votes are not being found; they’re being counted.”

President Donald Trump claimed otherwise on Twitter earlier Friday.

Rick Scott has openly alleged there is “rampant fraud” afoot and that “unethical liberals [are trying] to steal an election.”

[Image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.