Florida Governor Rick Scott Announces Recusal From Election Certification After Lawsuit Filed

Rick Scott waving to voters at a campaign rally
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Florida Governor Rick Scott plans to recuse himself from participating in the Elections Canvassing Commission this coming Tuesday. The Hill reports that the governor has decided to step aside from any potential conflicts of interest that could arise if he were to act to determine the results of a race in which he is running. Essentially, this means that Scott won’t certify the results of his own run for Senate seat.

The Elections Canvassing Commission is responsible for each election within in the state and normally consists of Scott and two members of the cabinet that he is responsible for selecting. While Scott himself has been silent until now on his participation in the commission, his lawyer informed United States District Judge Mark Walker that the governor plans to recuse himself from the commission on Wednesday.

The Republican also recused himself from the commission for his 2014 re-election bid for governor against Democrat Charlie Crist. At that time, Scott appointed State Senate President Don Gaetz, Senator Rob Bradley, and Senator Kelli Stargel to fill in the empty seats.

The governor has faced calls from his opponent to recuse himself from certifying the election results because he “can’t possibly be trusted to be neutral and fair arbiter as votes are tallied,” according to Nelson.

“I recused myself from certifying results on the Elections Canvassing Commission in 2014, and I will do so again this year. This is nothing new,” Scott said in a tweet. “Bill Nelson is confused and doesn’t even know how Florida works- I have no role in supervising/overseeing the ongoing recount process.”

Scott has also faced pressure from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, The League of Women Voters of Florida, and Common Cause Florida, the latter of which recently filed a lawsuit to have Scott removed from the committee.

“In light of the pervasive opportunities for the Defendant Scott to improperly exercise power over the U.S. Senate race, his continued interventions in the race violate the basic notion of fairness that no man should be a judge in his own cause,” they wrote in the lawsuit.

The normally obscure commission has been in the headlines recently as Rick Scott’s race against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson has been forced into an automated recount. Currently, Scott leads Nelson by just 0.15 percent, or about 12,500 votes. If the machine recount determines that the race is within 0.25 percent, a hand recount will take place.