FL Judge Gives Florida Voters Until Saturday To Fix Signatures
Florida’s historic recount was thrown once more into uncertainty Thursday when a federal judge ruled that voters whose mail-in and provisional ballots ballots were rejected because of issues with their signatures will have two more days to resolve the problems and possibly have their votes counted.
The decision by Judge Mark Walker of the U.S. District Court in Tallahassee came just hours ahead of the Thursday afternoon deadline for elections officials to complete a machine recount. It is particularly notable in the too-close-to-call Senate race, in which Gov. Rick Scott (R) leads Sen. Bill Nelson (D) by fewer than 13,000 votes.
Walker’s decision affects Floridians who cast their ballots by mail, or voted provisionally, but whose signatures did not match records maintained by state officials and who were not immediately notified of the discrepancy, as required by state law. More than 4,000 ballots across 45 counties in Florida were set aside because of inconsistent signatures, he wrote in his opinion. In the other 22 counties, the number is unknown.
“The precise issue in this case is whether Florida’s law that allows county election officials to reject vote-by-mail and provisional ballots for mismatched signatures — with no standards, an illusory process to cure, and no process to challenge the rejection — passes constitutional muster,” Walker wrote. “The answer is simple. It does not.”