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Rick Scott’s campaign sues Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections

The campaign is alleging that election observers were forced to watch recounts from another room.
Observers watch employees with the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Election's office begin the machine recounts of four races. [LUIS SANTANA | Tampa Bay Times]
Observers watch employees with the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Election's office begin the machine recounts of four races. [LUIS SANTANA | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Nov. 13, 2018

The Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections is not allowing elections observers to stand in the physical room where recounts are taking place, Gov. Rick Scott alleged in a lawsuit filed Tuesday evening.

Instead, they're being forced to watch the recounts from an adjacent room through a transparent window.

Scott's lawyers — in conjunction with lawyers from the National Republican Senatorial Committee — say that's a violation of state law.

Under Rule 1S-2.031(2) and (3) of the Florida Administrative Code, the lawsuit alleges, representatives for the Scott campaign — as well as the campaigns of any of the other candidates in races that are undergoing recounts — should be allowed into the room where any recount is taking place.

"The representatives of candidates or political parties are being required
to remain in a separate room, separated by glass and without the ability to hear what is transpiring in the recount room," the lawsuit reads.

A spokeswoman for the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections could not be reached for comment.

If a judge were to find in favor of Scott, the SOE would be forced to allow campaign representatives into the same room as the recount.

"Unfortunately, we are also again having to turn to the court to force a Supervisor of Elections to follow the law and provide Floridians with the transparency they deserve," Chris Hartline, a Scott spokesman, said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.

The suit against Hillsborough County SOE is just the latest in a series of lawsuits the Scott campaign has filed against county elections supervisors.

Scott led Democrat Bill Nelson by about 12,500 votes in the race for U.S. Senate after the first round unofficial statewide results.

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