By: Capitol News Service
November 15, 2018
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- A federal judge is ordering the state to give 4,000 or more vote-by-mail voters whose signatures didn’t match a second chance to have their vote counted. If the order stands, voters will have until 5 p.m. Saturday to fix their signatures.
Federal Judge Mark Walker likened the election to a football game, saying no one quibbles that football referees make certain calls, under the rules, that deserve review.
So do elections officials, he reasons, saying allowing officials to reject vote-by-mail and provisional ballots for mismatched signatures with no standards is unconstitutional.
“This is about assuring that everybody who thinks they voted by mail, gets to know that their voted counted," said Senator Bill Nelson's attorney, Ron Meyer.
The state told the court there are about 4,000 votes in 45 counties, which means the total could increase as 22 other counties finish counting votes.
Republican Party of Florida Lawyer Pete Dunbar calls the order inconsequential.
“No matter how this is disposed of, there’s no change in the results based on what’s involved," said Dunbar.
Governor Rick Scott’s campaign called the decision “baseless,” and immediately appealed.
Democrats asked for a list of voters whose ballots had been mismatched.
Walker said, "No, I’m not going to be used by either party."
A spokesman for Andrew Gillum’s campaign, which has yet to file a lawsuit, says win or lose, the Democrat plans to stay involved.
“Whether those votes are counted and he does not win, or whether those counted and he does win, I think regardless of what happens, his message is still resonating with Floridians," said Gillum's adviser, Kevin Cate. “There is always hope”
Both sides were back in Federal Court Thursday arguing over deadlines and whether emailed ballots and others should still be counted.
Andrew Gillum told WJXT Jacksonville that regardless of who wins, state lawmakers must work on fixing Florida’s election law.