U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson harshly criticized rival Gov. Rick Scott, saying the Republican is trying to keep all Floridians votes from being counted.

"No one should stand in the way of the people of our state exercising their right to vote and to have their voice heard," Nelson said. "Clearly, Rick Scott is trying to stop all the votes from being counted, and he's impeding the democratic process."

The Democrat issued a statement Friday afternoon as a judge in Fort Lauderdale ordered Broward County's supervisor of elections to hand over voting records.

RELATED: Judge orders Broward election official to hand over vote records

Scott gathered the most votes in the initial ballot count Tuesday night, but as additional ballots have been tallied the lead has shrunk to the point that state law would require a recount.

As of Friday evening, Scott's lead had dwindled to 14,858 votes, well within the 0.5 percent margin for an automatic machine recount and the 0.25 percent margin for a hand recount.

On Thursday, Scott announced his lawsuit, claiming liberals were trying to steal the election.

Friday, Nelson called that statement "irresponsible, unethical and unprecedented," and said it shows Scott is "worried, and he's desperate." He accused the governor of using his office to stop the vote count.

Nelson said he believes when every legal vote is counted, he will be the winner.

The senator filed a lawsuit against Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, questioning the procedure of matching signatures to mail-in and provisional ballots. The suit asks for all vote-by-mail and provisional ballots be counted and to suspend the Saturday deadline for canvassing ballots.

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