Rubio apparently doesn’t understand how elections work

Marco Rubio promoted a Seth Rich truther to allege Democrats are trying to "steal a seat in the U.S. Senate."

Marco Rubio during a campaign stop in Nashua, New Hampshire on February 8, 2016. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Marco Rubio during a campaign stop in Nashua, New Hampshire on February 8, 2016. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) used to be viewed as a serious politician.

“THE REPUBLICAN SAVIOR,” proclaimed a February 2013 cover of Time Magazine featuring the Florida Republican.

During Rubio’s failed 2016 presidential bid, in which he finished fourth in the GOP primary behind now-President Donald Trump ($$), Sen. Ted Cruz (TX), and Gov. John Kasich (OH), he was praised as being a “moderate,” despite plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Fast-forward several years and the notion of Rubio as a moderate seems a distant memory. Rubio has voted with Trump — who he once called a “con man” — over 96 percent of the time. That’s a higher rate than Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell (KY), Tom Cotton (AR), Chuck Grassley (IA), Lindsey Graham (SC), and Cruz.


What small vestige remains of the junior senator’s independence from Trump typically only shows up on Twitter. But Thursday, Rubio took a break from subtweeting the president with Bible verses to suggest, with no real evidence, that something fishy was going on with the counting of votes in Florida’s Senate race between Sen. Bill Nelson (D) and Gov. Rick Scott (R).

It started on Thursday afternoon in a “Long but IMPORTANT THREAT (sic) ON ELECTIONS IN #FLORIDA” in which Rubio apparently failed to understand why Broward County, which includes much of the Miami area and is home to nearly 2 million people, is taking longer to count its votes from Tuesday’s midterm elections than Bay County, which contains around 150,000 citizens.

Of course, the real issue for the Florida Republican is that this counting is taking place in Florida’s Democratic redoubts. South Florida’s Broward County is split into four congressional districts, all of which have a strong lean toward Democrats according to the Cook Partisan Voting Index, which “measures how each district performs at the presidential level compared to the nation as a whole.” All in all Broward’s districts are relative strongholds of Democratic voters: the 20th (rated as D+9), 22nd (D+6), 23rd (D+11), and 24th (D+34).


Rubio was only getting started. Adjusting his tinfoil hat for maximum mind-ray repulsion, he went on, in subsequent tweets, to allege that “democrat lawyers” are descending on Florida “to try to steal a seat in the U.S. Senate.”

A gobsmacked Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) slid into his mentions to essentially ask, “Marco wyd?”

But Rubio wasn’t done with his Alex Jones impression, as he lamented the “slow drip” of votes eating into Republican leads before sharing images of random ballots and retweeting Tim Canova (I), who has been a prominent promoter of the baseless conspiracy theory that Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was murdered because he leaked information to Russia during the 2016 election.

Rubio criticized Nelson, his colleague, hours after the polls closed on Tuesday for not conceding to his Republican challenger.

Rubio later turned his attention to news networks that hadn’t declared Scott the winner yet before admitting, “We don’t need CNN to swear him in to the Senate, but its kind of annoying anyways.”

Naturally, Rubio’s Twitter thread about alleged impropriety in his state’s elections did not mention any of the shenanigans that went down during the 2000 election. In that election cycle, then-Florida governor Jeb Bush (R) (the brother to future President George W. Bush), Florida secretary of state Katherine Harris (R) (the Florida co-chairwoman of Bush’s 2000 campaign), and the majority-conservative Supreme Court teamed up to override the state’s Supreme Court and stop a recount in the presidential election between Bush and Vice President Al Gore (D). Gore “officially” lost the Sunshine State by 537 votes, which put Bush in the White House despite losing the popular vote by around 550,000 votes. Multiple studies subsequently found that more Floridians intended to cast ballots for Gore that day.


The New York Times’ Patricia Mazzei noted on Thursday that the race between Nelson and Scott had now entered recount territory under Florida law.

There are many practical, non-nefarious reasons why it takes a while to count votes. For starters, counting ballots by hand can obviously take some time, particularly in highly-populated areas. Also, ballots that are sent by mail require verification, which adds additional time to the process. Mail ballots have been cited by Palm Beach County officials as the primary reason for the delayed vote count there.

The Sun-Sentinel explained other reasons for the delay, specifically in Palm Beach County, which is one of the 30 largest counties in the U.S. by population.

At mid-afternoon Thursday, Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher said had her office had several vote-counting tasks ahead: 1,500 military and overseas ballots, which are faxed in, printed and duplicated by election workers, a process that takes time; hand-counting about 8,000 write in votes, and about 1,800 to 2,000 pending provisional ballots.

In Broward County, the 17th-most populous county in the country, votes are tabulated by machine, but officials must scan ballots for them to count. And the county has earned itself a long-standing reputation for being infamously slow at counting votes, which is something that anyone with a passing familiarity with Florida politics should know. (Marco Rubio is a U.S. Senator from Florida.)