Railing against what they call a Republican effort to discredit recounts through legal intimidation and allegations of fraud, Democrats state Sen. Linda Stewart, Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith and state Rep.-elect Anna Eskamani insisted Monday the process just needs to proceed now in calm and confidence.

“Calm down,” Stewart said Monday on the front steps of the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office, a hundred yards or so where the county’s recounts were underway Monday for Florida’s U.S. Senate, Governor, and Agriculture Commission elections and that of an Orange County Commission district. “Let them do their job and don’t be yelling ‘Fraud!’ because there’s no fraud.”

She, Smith and Eskamani suggested that all the talk in recent days about voter fraud are unfounded bluster, and all the lawsuits potential roadblocks to smooth recounts, and they blamed Republicans, though some of the lawsuits have been brought by Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, whose election contest with Republican Gov. Rick Scott is emerging as the most contentious, with both sides plying the courts.

Stewart also suggested some counties might have trouble meeting vote recount deadlines but should be given the time they need.

“This is a very tedious operation. And it’s being done by professionals who have been doing this for years and years and years. There’s nothing nepharious about it. There’s nothing fraudelent about it. It just takes time,” Stewart said. “All we’re asking for is time and not to interfere with the process and allow it goes forward the way it goes forward, so every vote counts. And that’s all we’re asking for everybody to stand back, calm down and just allow us to move forward and get these votes forward.”

Eskamani renounced the growing level of anger she said she and Smith experienced over the weekend in Broward County.

Smith accused President Donald Trump of trying to intimidate Florida officials to just declare the election over and “declare his buddies the election winners.”

“We will be for protecting the integrity of our electoral system whether we are winning those elections or losing those elections. The integrity of our democracy matters and that is what we are fighting for,” Smith said.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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