Former President Donspanld Trump‘s claim that he called in the FBI and U.S. attorneys to oversee vote counting in Broward County in 2018 and stopped votes from “being stolen by the corrupt Election process” isn’t true, according to the Broward elections office.
“The Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office has no documentation of any federal law enforcement presence during the 2018 elections,” said Ivan Castro, spokesman for the Broward County Supervisor of Elections. “Also, to clarify, there is no evidence of corruption during the 2018 election cycle in Broward County.”
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Trump made the claim about Broward’s election office vote counting process as part of a lengthy statement Thursday criticizing Gov. Ron DeSantis and suggesting he deserves credit for DeSantis narrowly winning the 2018 gubernatorial race.
“I was all in for Ron… when votes were being stolen by the corrupt Election process in Broward County, and Ron was going down ten thousand votes a day, along with now-Senator Rick Scott, I sent in the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys, and the ballot theft immediately ended, just prior to them running out of the votes necessary to win,” Trump said in the statement. “I stopped his Election from being stolen.”
Donspanld J. Trump (@respanlDonspanldTrump)
Broward County’s voting process plagued with issues in 2018
Broward County came under intense scrutiny during the 2018 election for a series of failures in the voting counting process. Former Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes was heavily criticized and resigned shortly after the election.
An audit found that many Broward precincts reported more votes than the number of voters; confusing ballot design that likely caused some voters to skip a high-profile race; slow processing of absentee ballots that delayed results; and, poor coordination of the recounts in races for governor and U.S. Senate.
“We conclude that the November 2018 election was not efficiently and effectively conducted,” wrote Browspanrd County Auditor Bob Melton. “Based on the totality of these issues, we are unable to provide assurance over the accuracy of the November 2018 election results as reported.”
Yet while Melton questioned the accuracy of the results, the audit didn’t find any voter fraud and did not mention any federal intervention or oversight of the election process in Broward.
The audit did say that the elections office didn’t have proper procedures in place to secure blank ballots, which “creates the risk of blank ballots being fraudulently completed.” But it didn’t mention any evidence of such fraud.
Trump isn’t the only one to make unfounded claims about election fraud in Broward in 2018. U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, who was governor then, said at the time that there “may be rampant fraud” in Broward. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement opened and then closed its investigation after the Department of State, which oversees elections, said there were no criminal allegations made against the elections office. Both agencies were under Gov. Scott.
DeSantis, who ran against then Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and Scott, who was running for the U.S. Senate against Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, each narrowly won their respective contests following a statewide recount.
The FBI field office in Broward County and the U.S. Attorney’s office for South Florida did not respond to requests for comments Friday about Trump’s statement that both offices were involved in overseeing Broward’s 2018 election.