Election Law

Ballots are still being counted in some tight races in Florida, Georgia and Arizona, even as lawyers head to court to challenge the procedures being used.

In Florida, there are tight high-profile races for governor and the Senate, while in Georgia there is a thin-margin gubernatorial contest. The vote counting in those races “unleashed hordes of lawyers, talk of recounts and runoffs, and the kind of bickering over ballots that brought back memories of the 2000 presidential contest,” the New York Times reported.

Also in a tight race were two Senate candidates in Arizona: Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, the Arizona Republic reported.

Election results in Florida Friday morning were close enough to require manual recounts in three statewide races, the Miami Herald reported. In the Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott held a slim lead of about 15,000 votes over Sen. Bill Nelson, the Democratic incumbent. And Republican Ron DeSantis led Democrat Andrew Gillum in the gubernatorial race by about 36,000 votes. The third tight statewide race was for agriculture commissioner.

Scott filed two lawsuits on Thursday against the supervisors of elections in Broward and Palm Beach counties, the Miami Herald reported. “I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election from the great people of Florida,” Scott told reporters.

The Broward County suit sought records on the counting and collection of ballots, according to the Associated Press and the Miami Herald. The Palm Beach County suit alleges Republican Party representatives weren’t allowed “to properly witness” processing of damaged absentee ballots. The suit also alleges failure to follow state law regarding “overvoted” and “undervoted” absentee ballots, where a voter selects too many candidates or not candidates.

In Georgia, the Protect Democracy nonprofit filed a lawsuit this week seeking to keep Secretary of State Brian Kemp from being involved in counting votes in his run for governor as a Republican against Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams. Kemp had 50.3 percent of the votes on Thursday and could be forced into a runoff if his share of the vote drops below 50 percent.

Kemp declared victory on Wednesday and resigned as secretary of state on Thursday to allow time for the transition process, NBC News reported. Protect Democracy interpreted the move as a response to its lawsuit.

Another suit filed by the Democratic Party in Georgia seeks to extend the deadline for absentee ballots in a county hit by Hurricane Michael.

In Arizona, Republicans went to court to challenge the way counties were verifying signatures on mail-in and dropped off ballots, according to the Arizona Republic. Democrats were seeking to intervene “to protect those votes and ensure a fair count,” according to a tweet by Democratic lawyer Marc Elias.