Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum considers lawsuit as vote recount deadline nears
Nine days after the midterm elections, the Governor’s race in Florida has still not been decided and now Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is considering legal action as the deadline to certify results draws near, The Tallahassee Democrat reports.
“Up until now we have not been actively preparing to file one,” Gillum’s attorney Barry Richard told MSNBC Monday. “But we are receiving an increasing amount of evidence that Florida’s efforts to make the statutes more efficient has been done at the sacrifice of the fundamental right to vote.”
Gillum is demanding a recount in his own election after withdrawing his concession in the race for governor against Republican candidate Ron DeSantis.
Donald Trump has been working to stop Gillum from getting a shot at a recount, and recently shared post-election tweets of his own that were full of conspiracy theories, including one that Florida’s ballots being “massively infected” by fraud. Trump even demanded that states like Georgia and Florida call off legally required recounts.
“The Florida election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged,” Trump opined, referring to the Sunshine state’s GOP Senate and gubernatorial candidates.
“An honest vote count is no longer possible—ballots massively infected. Must go with election night!”
Gillum’s team is up against a Nov. 20 deadline to have all votes certified. A decision to file his own lawsuit hangs in the balance and has yet to be decided.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they did (file a lawsuit),” said Aubrey Jewett, a University of Central Florida political scientist who has studied Florida politics for 30 years. “It would be consistent with what they have been saying all along – they want every vote to be counted.”
“The conventional wisdom is there are not enough of them (uncounted over and undervote ballots) to overturn the election but we don’t actually know unless we look at them,” said Jewett. “If they don’t finish the count on time we don’t know, right?”
“If he doesn’t pick up more votes in the recount, he would be an idiot to file that lawsuit,” said Jay Rayburn, a Florida State University professor who has conducted political opinion surveys for 43 years. “It would make him look like a sore loser and it would not bode well for his future.
“Ultimately you want to win the war, but you don’t want to lose a battle and the war in the same fight. People don’t take too well to (court challenges) for no other reason than it takes taxpayer money to deal with it. How many times do you have to do this before you say, ‘Okay I give up?’”
“I don’t think he is being motivated right now by whether or not he will turn the election around,” his attorney, Richard, told MSNBC. “He feels an obligation to ensure votes are counted.”