County GOP calls for an audit of the 2020 election results in Florida, a state that Trump won
The Lake County, Fla., GOP is pressuring state Republicans to conduct an audit of the 2020 election.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has reaffirmed the integrity of the state's voting systems.
However, Lake County Republicans, including state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, want an electoral review.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and top conservative lawmakers in Tallahassee are being pushed by members of their own party to audit the 2020 presidential election results, despite former President Donald Trump's relatively comfortable win in the state last year.
DeSantis, an ally of Trump and a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, said that Florida "did it right" in administering the 2020 presidential election, but still signed off on restrictive voting measures passed by the conservative-dominated legislature in May.
In late September, the Lake County Republican Party, based in a fast-growing and GOP-leaning jurisdiction near Orlando, unanimously approved five resolutions to send to every Florida state lawmaker in calling for a full audit of the election results.
Last fall, Trump defeated now-President Joe Biden in Florida by a 51.2% to 47.9% margin - the former president won the state with 5,668,731 votes, while the current president secured 5,297,045 votes, an advantage of more than 371,000 votes.
Biden made inroads in populous localities like Duval County, which contains Jacksonville, and Orange County, which is anchored by Orlando, but Trump overperformed with Latino voters in crucial Miami-Dade County, a longtime Democratic stronghold that the party must dominate to counter GOP advantages in the Panhandle and Southwest Florida.
The push comes as GOP state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, who represents part of the county in the Florida House, filed House Bill 99 last month, which would allow an "independent" third party to conduct a "forensic" audit of the results.
In its current form, Sabatini's bill calls for audits in counties with populations over 250,000 - meaning the proposal would affect many Democratic and minority-heavy jurisdictions like Orange, Broward, Palm Beach, and Hillsborough counties - as well as some GOP-leaning locales like Lake, Brevard, Lee, and Polk counties.
"It's not about margin of victory," Sabatini recently told Politico. "The fact is that people want total verification of the election results. They want an independent review of the votes."
The push comes as GOP legislators, encouraged by Trump, have sought a review of the results in pivotal swing states including Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Last month, a report from the group Cyber Ninjas, which for conducted a monthslong forensic audit of the results from Arizona's populous Maricopa County, showed that Biden won the state.
The former president has pressed GOP lawmakers for similar reviews in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states that he won in 2016 but lost in 2020.
For months, Trump has alleged, without verifiable evidence, that the election was stolen from him, which has set off a cascade of GOP-led voting restrictions at the state level that have frustrated Washington Democrats who wrote their own federal election reform bills that have so far languished in Congress.
GOP Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas has come under fire for defending the push for an audit in the Lone Star State, which the former president won by nearly 6% against Biden.
None of the audits conducted so far have uncovered any instances of large-scale voting fraud.
In Florida, GOP Secretary of State Laurel Lee said that a "forensic audit" wasn't necessary because county election officials tested machines before the election and conducted random reviews after the presidential contest.
"Florida's election in 2020 was accurate, transparent, and conducted in compliance with Florida law," she said in a statement about Sabatini's bill. "Florida has already conducted both pre- and post-elections audits, and we are confident in the security and integrity of our 2020 election results."
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