Lawsuit calls for Scott to recuse himself from recount process

Voting rights groups say governor has abused his authority

By Tim Swift - Digital Editor
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MIAMI - Two voting rights groups filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court against Gov. Rick Scott, accusing him of abusing his authority as governor as his U.S. Senate race undergoes a statewide recount.

Common Cause and the League of Women Voters of Florida wrote Scott on Saturday asking him to recuse himself from decisions related to his Senate race. They did not receive a response.

Scott, a Republican, is narrowly leading Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson by 12,562 votes, a margin of 0.15 percentage points.

"Defendant Scott has already misused his authority to influence and frustrate the high stakes vote-counting process, and the powers of his office give him opportunity to continue to misuse his authority," the lawsuit said.

On Monday, Nelson also called for Scott to refrain from having "any role" in the recount.

“He's stood on the steps of the governor’s mansion and tried to use the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the Broward elections chief," Nelson said in a video. "He’s filed lawsuits to try to stop votes from being counted, and to impound voting machines.”

Scott has repeatedly said, without evidence, that the elections may have been affected by voter fraud in Broward and Palm Beach counties, two of the biggest Democratic counties in the state.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has said the agency is not investigating any cases of voter fraud. State election monitors assigned to Broward and Miami-Dade counties also said they have found no evidence of voter fraud.

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