The former CIA officer running as an independent conservative alternative to Donald Trump accused Gov. Rick Scott, a Trump ally, of trying to keep him off the ballot in the swing state.
Evan McMullin’s campaign said in a statement today that, as he made the Independence Party ballot line in Minnesota and South Carolina, he received the ballot line of the Independent Party in Florida, which is the state’s third-largest party with more than a quarter of a million registered voters.
The campaign said it submitted the candidate’s paperwork in “a timely fashion to the Florida Department of State Division of Elections, including a list of electors.”
“When Governor Rick Scott’s administration learned Evan was on the Independent Party ballot line, it took what appears to be a deliberate, political action to strike the Independent Party’s candidate from the ballot over an administrative pretext that it did not apply in comparison to other minor parties with fewer registered voters or only a paper presence in Florida, like the Reform Party,” the statement continued.
“Interestingly, minor parties that are viewed as likely to cost Hillary Clinton votes were allowed to remain on the ballot, while those that were expected to take votes from Donald Trump were stricken.”
The Florida Division of Elections struck the party — and McMullin — from the ballot because the department said it wasn’t a national party per Federal Election Commission registration.
The McMullin camp accused Scott of disenfranchising members of the Independent Party “using a novel standard that cannot survive legal scrutiny. It is a standard that treats minor parties unequally without furthering a legitimate state interest.”
“As a fervent Trump supporter, Governor Scott appears to have pulled out all the stops to help the Republican nominee. This has naturally raised serious questions about whether his constant, open support of Donald Trump has influenced this process.”
The campaign said Florida’s Department of State now has “an appeal to reinstate the Independent Party line and give all Florida voters a chance to vote for Evan McMullin.”
Scott’s office told the Orlando Sentinel that they were following the law.
“Governor Scott takes the election process very seriously. The Department of State was following the process to determine a candidate’s ballot eligibility and that process is outlined in law,” Scott spokeswoman Jeri Bustamante told the paper.
McMullin has gained ballot access in South Carolina, Utah, Iowa, Colorado, Louisiana, Arkansas, Idaho, Virginia and Minnesota.