Fax machine (via YouTube)
After Hurricane Michael ravaged parts of the Panhandle last month, Florida Gov. Rick Scott relaxed or waived voting rules for eight counties affected by the storm.
The problem: His directive did not include allowing voters to vote by email, though that’s what happened in Bay County.
Bay County Supervisor of Elections Mark Anderson acknowledges he allowed the alternative voting methods. And various news accounts show that more than 140 vote-by-mail ballots were cast through a fax machine or email.
Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner issued a statement on October 18, allowing for eight counties in the Panhandle to extend the number of days for early voting, and the directive explicitly said “voting by fax or e-mail is not an option.”
WJGH-TV, the NBC affiliate in Panama City, originally reported the story on Friday.
“If you want to turn around and take these votes away from voters because it’s not the normal prescribed issue, I would just say you ought to be ashamed of yourselves because what we did is take care of voters,” Anderson told the TV station.
The revelation angered some Democrats, who have been questioning Florida Gov. Rick Scott and his supporters for claiming that incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson has been perpetuating “fraud” as he has gained more votes in Broward County since last Tuesday night’s election.
In Bay County’s case, those email and fax votes might not not counted, though it’s not clear what will happen next.
Former Gadsden County Democratic State Rep. Alan Williams took to Twitter to call on authorities to bring charges against Supervisor Anderson.
“As a former Candidate for @LeonVotes SOE & author of several improvements to Fla’s voting law like extending Early Voting hours/days as well as Online Voter Registration- I’m calling on the State Atty to bring charges against @BayVotes SOE,” Williams tweeted.
Scott easily defeated Nelson in Bay County, receiving 46,646 votes to Nelson’s 16,684. Ron DeSantis received 45,695 votes for governor, while Andrew Gillum brought in 16,738 votes.
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