On Friday, attorneys for both Andrew Gillum and Bill Nelson objected to disqualifying a non-citizen vote during the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board proceedings, as outlined in a transcript from the court reporter hired by the Palm Beach County GOP to create a record of the meeting, which is open to the public.
Chairman of the Palm Beach County GOP, Michael Barnett, spoke to the Blaze on Saturday about the transcript and the events surrounding it. During that conversation, Barnett told The Blaze that the county GOP is intervening as an interested party in a lawsuit filed by Bill Nelson's attorneys to have all previously excluded mail-in ballots recounted.
"They're desperate," said Barnett, who also serves as Vice Chair of the state GOP. "They're trying to steal this election from Rick Scott who rightly won this race."
The incident with the non-citizen ballot was on Friday night and Barnett provided a portion of the transcript as recorded by the court reporter hired by the party's General Counsel, who on Saturday was at the tabulation center overseeing the lawyers and volunteers for the GOP.
Here is the transcript:
The canvassing board was going through provisional ballots on Friday night making judgments on whether to allow them. The transcript above covers the first instance of a non-citizen’s vote. Despite the objections from the two campaign's lawyers, the non-citizen's vote was disallowed.
Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher and Judge August Bonavita (whose name was misspelled in the draft transcript pictured above) both voted against counting the ballot, while the third canvassing board member, county staffer Irwin Jacobowitz, voted to include it, said Barnett. Of Bucher, Barnett noted "we have a lot of criticism of her, but she did the right thing, there."
Barnett said that people in the room witnessed attorneys Jack Scarola, representing the Nelson campaign, and Barry Richard, laughing afterward. Barnett was not present at the time. Gillum attorney Barry Richard "tried to play it off as a joke, but we're not taking it as a joke," he said. "Maybe they don't grasp how serious it is, but we take it very seriously."
"The elections for governor and the senate hang on what happens here in Palm Beach County and in Broward," he added.
While he was relating the events of Friday evening, he received information on the GOP's intervening as an interested party in fighting a lawsuit filed by Nelson's attorneys. "Bill Nelson's campaign filed to have already excluded mail-in ballots included in the recount," he said. "They're fighting to include defective, illegal ballots, they're trying to steal this election."
The suit, filed by Nelson's attorneys on Friday, covers vote-by-mail ballots and the process used to authenticate them.
"We have to be vigilant as Republicans. We have so many volunteers observing,' said Barnett. "We worked really hard this whole election and we're not going to let them just steal it."