Palm Beach County in Florida was hit with a lawsuit from Fox Television, NBC and Scripps Media, and lost late Friday evening as the controversy over the ballot counting process continued in the sunshine state.
“Our attorneys are fighting for access..."
Marissa Bagg at NBC-6 Miami reported Friday that the news outlets were suing the county over their lack of transparency while counting ballots from the midterm elections Tuesday.
"NBCUniversal, Scripps Media and Fox Television are suing Susan Bucher and the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board for refusing to allow us to record video while they review ballots in a public meeting," she tweeted.
The lawsuit called for an emergency petition against Susan Bucher, the Supervisor of Elections for Palm Beach County, and the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board.
The news outlets alleged that they were being unlawfully banned from "nondisruptive video recording" of the public meeting as protected by Florida law.
Bagg and other Florida reporters objected to the restriction against video recording earlier Friday from their social media accounts.
"Palm Beach County Canvassing Board tells photographers to stop taking video and photos during open public meeting over election ballots," said WPTV journalist Matt Sczesny.
Palm Beach County Canvassing Board tells photographers to stop taking video and photos during open public meeting o… https://t.co/5ogcfjJTgG— Matt Sczesny WPTV (@Matt Sczesny WPTV)1541784779.0
"No cameras are allowed inside that room with glass," responded Jamie Guirola. "Our attorneys are fighting for access via an emergency hearing," he added parenthetically.
No cameras are allowed inside that room with glass. (Our attorneys are fighting for access via an emergency hearing… https://t.co/ur8WShfX2s— Jamie Guirola (@Jamie Guirola)1541805992.0
"The canvassing board is reviewing provisional ballots in Palm Beach County," he explained. "Attorneys for all candidates are watching and objecting to ballots discarded."
Susan Bucher, the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections, says news crews cannot record the Canvassing Board as… https://t.co/vveYu6wqQ4— Marissa Bagg (@Marissa Bagg)1541787506.0
Lulu Ramadan with the Palm Beach Post said that they were threatened with arrest for filming the ballot counting room.
"Susan Bucher just threatened to have reporters arrested, myself included, for filming in the ballot counting room even though from where I stand, you can't see ballots," she explained.
Susan Bucher just threatened to have reporters arrested, myself included, for filming in the ballot counting room e… https://t.co/Dtn1gXGNJn— Lulu Ramadan 🌅 (@Lulu Ramadan 🌅)1541780628.0
"It's illegal to photograph signatures on ballots but I can't even see the table from here..." she added.
"Cameras are now allowed to record inside"
Later in the evening, Bagg reported that the county had lost the lawsuit and the judge sided against the ban on cameras.
"Judge agrees with @NBCNews, @nbc6 and other media outlets— cameras are now allowed to record inside room where provisional ballots are being reviewed by canvassing board in Palm Beach County," she tweeted.
#BREAKING Judge agrees with @NBCNews, @nbc6 and other media outlets— cameras are now allowed to record inside room… https://t.co/gdBvZiRmqk— Marissa Bagg (@Marissa Bagg)1541810873.0
What was the other lawsuit?
Governor Scott sued Broward County Friday in Florida over delays and obstruction in their ballot counting procedures. A judge agreed with him that they were violating the Florida constitution, and ordered them to disclose information by 7 PM.
"Broward and Palm Beach Counties have failed in their duty to follow Florida law which requires that vote by mail and absentee ballots are accounted within 30 minutes of polls closing," Scott tweeted on Thursday.
Broward and Palm Beach Counties have failed in their duty to follow Florida law which requires that vote by mail an… https://t.co/2iKoOX0nMI— Rick Scott (@Rick Scott)1541737085.0
Bucher implied that officials were motivated by racism in their attacks on the ballot counting process in her county.
"I just felt it very unfortunate that some of the highest elected officials in our country are trying to disrupt our democracy because they don't like the demographics of our voters," she said.
[Ed. note: this article has been updated with additional information.]