Editorial: To Some, Fraud Travels A One-Way Street

By The Editorial Board

We had hoped to avoid commenting on the election recounts today because the circumstances — regarding the votes, equipment, deadlines, lawsuits — are so fluid and susceptible to change at any moment.

But then arrived a press release from the Florida Democratic Party, touting a New York Times editorial on Wednesday criticizing Gov. Rick Scott and his likely successor, Ron DeSantis. The Times rebuked the pair of Republicans for “fanning conspiratorial flames with claims of outrageous fraud” in the ongoing recounts in Broward and Palm Beach counties, both Democratic strongholds.

Insert audible sigh here.

That’s because few people or organizations are more responsible for sowing doubt about our elections than The New York Times and the Democratic Party.

We will concede that Gov. Scott, DeSantis and other Republicans have used overly loaded language in fretting about victory possibly slipping away because of 13th-hour South Florida shenanigans. They should heed a judge’s recommendation to tone it down. Scott’s own people at the Division of Elections and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement say no evidence of fraud exists. That should suffice.

But in their defense, Broward’s elections supervisor, Brenda Snipes, has a checkered history as an administrator. As numerous media accounts have reported, Snipes just since 2016 has wrongfully destroyed ballots; improperly mixed legitimate ballots and unverified provisional ballots; ignored judicial rulings; violated state Sunshine Laws; approved of her staff improperly opening mail-in ballots; posted early-voting results before the polls closed and also failed to report results in accordance with state law; excluded the controversial medical marijuana amendment from some mail-in ballots; acknowledged allowing illegal immigrants and other unauthorized voters to cast ballots; included voided ballots in official tallies.

None of that may amount to fraud, per se. But it does support Sen. Marco Rubio’s observation: “If it’s not the worst elections department in America or the worst-run elections department in America, I would hate to see the one worse run than this department.”

In Palm Beach County, Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher during this election has been chastised by a judge for failing to abide by laws allowing public inspection of ballots. She also disregarded laws pertaining to when results are to be posted and co-opted the county canvassing board’s authority to determine the legitimacy of questionable ballots. She also has complained about timelines, even as neighboring Miami-Dade County met all deadlines in processing roughly 212,000 more ballots.

So, Scott, DeSantis, GOP agriculture commissioner candidate Matt Caldwell and Republican voters are right to be concerned when Democratic supervisors possessing questionable competence and respect for the rule of law oversee the outcome in counties where Democrats outnumber Republicans by margins of 1.5-1 (Palm Beach) and 2.5-1 (Broward).

Meanwhile on Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Times reported that state officials have asked federal authorities to investigate whether Florida Democratic officials illegally altered state forms to provide voters in four counties the wrong deadline to fix mail-in ballots. Scott and DeSantis crushed their opponents in three of the four.

And lest we forget, Scott’s opponent, Sen. Bill Nelson, doesn’t exactly have clean hands either.

During the recount, Nelson’s team has argued for counting unlawful ballots, including at least one cast by an illegal immigrant; sought to discard legally mandated deadlines for submitting vote tallies; and endorsed the Broward canvassing board’s violating state law by counting ballots after the deadline.

Moreover, it was Nelson who fanned the biggest “conspiratorial flames.” In early August he claimed Russian operatives had hacked voting systems in several Florida counties. These shady Russians, according to Nelson, had “free rein to move about” in order “to sow chaos in our democratic institutions.” When pressed by reporters to provide evidence, Nelson shamelessly hid behind the “it’s classified” line. Nelson, as far as we know, still has not revealed any basis for his allegation.

Speaking of Russians, Florida’s senior senator has hired Marc Elias as his lead lawyer to manage the recount. In 2016 Elias was paid by the Democratic national party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to hire Fusion GPS — the political intelligence firm that, in turn, hired Christopher Steele, the former British spy who crafted the dubious dirt that fed accusations Donald Trump conspired with Russians to steal the 2016 election, which ultimately helped propel Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

In that editorial Wednesday, the Times observed disapprovingly, “Sowing doubt in the integrity of the recount is part of a Republican strategy.” Yet, it added, “For all the fact-free doomsaying about rigged elections, democracy did remarkably well last week.”

We would agree with the latter comment, and include 97 percent of Florida’s 67 counties with it. But we also note that the Times and Florida Democratic officials are blind to the irony of their narrative.

For two years Democrats and their allies, including the cheerleaders at the Times, have offered unfounded, “fact-free” allegations of Trump-Russia “collusion” in an effort to promote doubt about the integrity of our last presidential election and proclaim the American president had betrayed his country — while also protecting the previous administration and Trump’s 2016 opponent from evidence-backed criticism of their roles in targeting his campaign with hostile domestic and foreign spies.

Thus, scolding Scott and DeSantis utterly lacks credibility when Florida Democrats and The New York Times have engaged in the very behavior they decry.

This article provided by NewsEdge.