Look, the Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office sucks. It screwed up in 2000, got caught breaking the law by deleting ballots in 2016, and is in full-scale chaos right now. Oft-embattled Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes says she has no idea how many provisional and absentee ballots are left to be counted in her office.
But as it stands, there is zero evidence that the Democratic Party is, in any way, trying to "steal" this election from Republicans. That sort of rhetoric erodes the public's (admittedly low) trust in the validity of American elections. People could legitimately riot if they believed a candidate "stole" an election — yet Sen. Marco Rubio is having a meltdown right now on Twitter-Dot-Com and claiming that Snipes and Democratic "lawyers" are trying to "steal" the U.S. Senate race from Rick Scott in order to give it to Bill Nelson. Rubio, a guy who spends a ton of time whining that people are not more "civil" toward Republicans like him, is tiptoeing into InfoWars/Trumpian territory.
Plus, a few reporters have pointed out already that some of Rubio's points are factually incorrect:
#Broward supervisor:— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) November 8, 2018
- says she doesn’t know how many ballots are left to be counted; &
- Isn’t reporting hourly or regularly,but rather releasing thousands of additional votes,often in the overnight hours,that are chipping away at GOP leads
Now democrat lawyers are descending on #Florida. They have been very clear they aren’t here to make sure every vote is counted.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) November 8, 2018
- They are here to change the results of election; &
- #Broward is where they plan to do it.#Sayfie
#Broward election supervisors ongoing violation of #Florida law requiring timely reporting isn’t just annoying incompetence. It has opened the door for lawyers to come here & try to steal a seat in the U.S. Senate & Florida Cabinet— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) November 8, 2018
Though Rubio is correct that the Broward elections department absolutely sucks, the office has never been accused (credibly, at least) of tampering with election results or illegally tipping the scales toward one candidate. There's also zero evidence that the Democratic "lawyers" Rubio references are up to anything more nefarious than normal.
Rubio is also leaving out some really important details. For one, Snipes was a Jeb Bush appointee, so she's not exactly an obvious partisan. Two: The person in charge of election recounts at the state level is Secretary of State Ken Detzner, whom Scott appointed to the job. Detzner and Scott were repeatedly accused of working together to hatch schemes designed to suppress Democratic votes over the past eight years. It is, frankly, a blatant conflict of interest for Detzner to oversee Scott's recount, but Rubio isn't complaining about that here.
Instead, he's also asking factually bunk questions such as this one, which Sun Sentinel (and former New Times) reporter Dan Sweeney easily debunked already:
Florida law requires all early votes and TABULATED vote by mail to be posted then. Unofficial returns have to be submitted to Sec. of State by noon the fourth day after the election -- two days from now. It's all there on the Div. of Elections website of the state you represent. https://t.co/krH1QKYh4H— Dan Sweeney (@Daniel_Sweeney) November 8, 2018
That hasn't stopped members of the right-wing-media echo chamber from repeating Rubio's bunk assertions. Federalist writer and reptile-creature Sean M. Davis already claimed today that the Democrats are "working to steal another election in Florida." It's unclear what he means by "another," because there's no evidence Democrats ever "stole" an election in the first place.
lol what election did democrats steal before? https://t.co/G6xY55qnbw— Andrew Pantazi (@apantazi) November 8, 2018
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Rubio also compared voting results from Broward, one of the largest counties in Florida, to those of Bay County, which is comparatively tiny:
Not discrediting Broward's problematic election history or the resiliency of Bay County to hold an election within weeks of a hurricane, but...— Steve Contorno (@scontorno) November 8, 2018
65,000 people voted in Bay County.
700,000 voted in Broward County.
Administering elections in these two places is quite different. https://t.co/5lovohMVLN
Instead, it is clear that the margins this year are artificially close due to voter suppression — one in five black Floridians could not vote in this race due to a Jim Crow-era, demonstrably racist law that banned formerly incarcerated people from voting. That law was repealed two days ago — it's hard not to wonder what these results might have looked like had 1.4 million extra people been able to cast ballots. But, of course, Rubio isn't concerned about that today.
Such, of course, is the problem with the admittedly terrible Broward elections office. The longer Snipes is allowed to run such a disorganized mess, the more it erodes the public's trust in the state elections process.