Federal Judge Deals Another Blow To Republicans By Allowing Voters To Fix Mismatched Signatures
A federal judge on Thursday ruled that thousands of Florida voters will have until this weekend to fix their ballots if they haven’t been counted due to mismatched signatures.
U.S. District Judge Mark Walker’s order allowed voters whose mail-in and provisional ballots were rejected due to mismatched signatures an extra two days to fix the issues.
That order came in response to a lawsuit filed last week by Scott’s Democratic opponent Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla.) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee challenging the state’s signature-matching statute.
Walker did not go along with a request from Democrats to count all ballots with mismatched signatures. Instead, he ordered that local election officials give voters until 5 p.m. on Saturday to correct the problem so that their ballots can be counted.
State officials testified in court that nearly 4,000 ballots have already been rejected because local canvassing boards decided the signature that was mailed-in doesn’t match the signature on file.
Unofficial results in the U.S. Senate race have Republican Gov. Rick Scott (R) ahead of Nelson by 0.14 percentage points, which will almost certainly send it to another recount that will last through the weekend.
Republicans filed an appeal Thursday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta to challenge that ruling.
The signature-matching lawsuit is only one of several filed by Nelson and Democratic groups in recent days. Other lawsuits ask the court to delay a series of deadlines for completing recounts and seek to challenge the state’s standards for evaluating voter intent on unconventionally marked ballots.