A Florida judge in a Monday ruling told Democrats and Republicans invested in the Florida recount battle to “ramp down the rhetoric,” warning that unsubstantiated allegations of malfeasance could undermine the public’s support for state officials.
Broward Chief Circuit Judge Jack Tuter made the remarks during an emergency hearing requested by Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s legal team. Scott’s team is alleging voter fraud and illegal activity during the recount in Broward County, Florida.
“I am urging, because of the highly public nature of this case, to ramp down the rhetoric,” Tuter said, according to The Associated Press.
“If someone in this lawsuit or someone in this county has evidence of voter fraud or irregularities at the supervisor’s office, they should report it to their local law enforcement officer,” Tuter said. “If the lawyers are aware of it, they should swear out an affidavit, but everything the lawyers are saying out there in front of the elections office is being beamed all over the country. We need to be careful of what we say. Words mean things these days.”
Tuter told both sides to come together on a compromise. They agreed to install three new deputies in Broward County.
Republicans, including President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE, have spent days alleging fraud and “suspect” vote-counting practices in the mandatory recounts for the Florida governor and Senate races.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) on Monday even called for the resignation of Broward County’s election overseer Brenda Snipes, a Democrat that he appointed after 2000. Snipes has been at the center of many Republican allegations of illegal activity. Florida law enforcement has so far not seen evidence of criminal conduct in the election.
Mostly Republican protesters have gathered outside of Snipes’s office for days, sometimes chanting “lock her up!”
The most closely-watched recount is the Senate race between incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Scott, who is currently leading by a narrow margin.
The race for Florida governor is also heading to a recount after unofficial results showed Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis separated by roughly 0.41 points.
The races and subsequent recounts have been marred by highly visible legal battles and bitter accusations.
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