Florida Republican files bill to conduct ‘forensic audit’ of 2020 election results

Politics

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — Republicans in states across the country are under increasing pressure from members of their own party to audit the 2020 election results — and Florida could soon be one of them.

Fla. Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-Lake County) has filed a bill ahead of the 2022 legislative session calling for the governor to “appoint an independent third party to conduct a forensic audit of the general election that took place on November 3, 2020.”

The investigation would happen in each county with a population of 250,000 or more, which would be 24 out of Florida’s 67 counties, according to the state’s 2020 population estimates.

The Lake County Republican Party signed a resolution calling for an audit of the 2020 results even though former President Donald Trump won the state by more than 3%, a veritable landslide in a state known for close elections.

The resolution, first reported by the Orlando Sentinel, comes as Trump has been pressuring fellow Republicans in other states, like Texas, to recount their results.

“I think the big question mark is whether the Florida legislature will a) pass it and b) fund it, because it’s very expensive,” said Dr. Susan MacManus, professor emerita of political science at the University of South Florida. “If you look at the cost of that Arizona audit, it was in the millions, and it took a lot longer than people were expecting.”

So far, Trump has not publicly called for Florida to investigate its results. Should he do so, it could put state Republican leaders in an awkward position. Many of them praised Florida for how it conducted the 2020 elections. Gov. Ron DeSantis called it a model for the rest of the nation.

“Certainly, Democrats would cite that as a counter opinion and going back on your word,” said MacManus. “But on the other hand, it really does come back to how forcefully the former president himself will say that this needs to be done.”

After a request from 8 On Your Side, Secretary of State Laurel Lee’s office sent the following statement:

Florida’s election in 2020 was accurate, transparent, and conducted in compliance with Florida law.  Florida has already conducted both pre- and post-elections audits, and we are confident in the security and integrity of our 2020 election results. Before each election, every county performs a Logic and Accuracy Test to ensure that ballots are printed correctly and that the voting system is counting votes correctly. This testing is publicly noticed and open to the public. See section 101.5612, Florida Statutes. Further, after every election, each county must perform a post-election certification voting system audit unless there has been a manual recount conducted in that election. See section 101.591, Florida Statutes; Rule 1S-5.026, Florida Administrative Code. This testing is publicly noticed and open to the public. The post-election audit confirmed that Florida’s 2020 election was secure and accurate. Governor DeSantis and I have made elections integrity a defining priority and a cornerstone of this administration. At the Florida Department of State, we are committed to integrity, transparency, and to building voter confidence in our elections process by providing accurate information to the public.

Statement from Florida Secretary of State’s office

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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