Around 150 voters were allowed to submit their selections via email or fax in Florida’s Bay County due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael, drawing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum’s fury despite his calls to count every single vote in a recount.
Bay County Elections Supervisor Mark Andersen said Monday that some voters were allowed to submit their ballots via email or fax because they were displaced by Michael, which rocked the area just a month ago, the Miami Herald reported.
Approximately 11 ballots were accepted by email and 147 were faxed in, the report said. Neither means of communication is normally allowed to be used to submit votes, according to Florida’s laws, except in the case of military personnel and voters overseas.
Bay County is considered a Republican stronghold where both Republicans Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis received more than 70 percent of the vote in the U.S. Senate and governor races, respectively.
The revelation of such voters initially prompted condemnation from Gillum, who recently retracted his concession to Scott and is fighting a recount battle to overturn the initial result, urging election officials to count every vote.
“These are the stories that we know,” Gillum said. “Imagine the ones that we don't.”
"These are the stories that we know. Imagine the ones that we don't."
Andersen defended the practice due to the hurricane and said the ballots were verified by signature.
“If I can validate it with a signature, the ballot is there, how is that different than a ballot that comes in through the post office?” he said, according to the newspaper.
“When devastation happens, leaders rise to the top and make decisions,” he added. “I will not change my mind on this, not for these voters.”
“When devastation happens, leaders rise to the top and make decisions. I will not change my mind on this, not for these voters.”
He also pointed out to the damage caused by the hurricane.
“You did not go through what we went through,” he said, noting that authorities barred people from returning to their homes in some areas.
“If some are unhappy we did so well up here, I don’t know what to tell them. We sure had an opportunity to not do well, I can tell you that much,” he added.