Rick Scott downplays decision not to remove Broward County elections supervisor while governor

Rick Scott downplays decision not to remove Broward County elections supervisor while governor
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Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) on Monday downplayed questions about why he didn't remove Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes prior to this year's election, after accusing her in a lawsuit of mishandling ballots, threatening his chances of unseating Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonFlorida lawmaker diagnosed with pancreatic cancer Rick Scott threw party at Florida governor’s mansion after DeSantis and family had moved in: report Restoration of voting rights by felons marks shift in Florida MORE (D).

Scott appeared on "Fox & Friends," where he criticized elections officials in the state over a lack of transparency and for improperly tallying votes. While he did not name Snipes, Scott's campaign has taken legal action against her for failing to disclose ballot information and for counting ballots past deadline.

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Asked twice why he did not remove Snipes from her position during his two terms as governor given a history of GOP criticism over her handling of elections, Scott said his power to do so was limited.

"There is limitations on what the governor can do," he said. "These are separately elected individuals. You’ve got to comply with what the law is. So what we’ve done is pass legislation to do everything we can to make sure there’s no fraud and then if we have concerns get law enforcement to come in and look at what’s going on."

While Scott suggested his hands were tied, Snipes was appointed after former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) removed her predecessor, Miriam Oliphant, over accusations of mishandling the 2002 gubernatorial primary in Broward County.

Snipes's tenure has been marred by controversy prior to this month's election. The Sun Sentinel reported that Snipes improperly destroyed ballots 12 months after the 2016 election rather than 22 months after, as required by federal law. In 2012, roughly 1,000 uncounted ballots were discovered in Broward County a week after the election, according to the news outlet.

Scott's campaign filed two emergency motions in Palm Beach and Broward County courts on Sunday, ramping up his legal efforts as recounts began in his bid to unseat Nelson. Scott holds a narrow lead in the race.

The motions request that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and county sheriffs impound and secure all voting machines, ballots and tabulating devices when they are not in use.

Scott's campaign also filed a complaint in Broward County court asking a judge to bar the county canvassing board from including ballots counted after a noon Saturday deadline in the final vote tally.

President Trump, Scott and other Republicans have suggested there is something nefarious in the vote counts taking place in the Senate race, particularly in Broward County, and that Democrats are attempting to "steal" the election. Those officials have not provided specific evidence that voter fraud is taking place, and law enforcement has said it has not found credible evidence of fraud.