A federal judge will decide whether to uphold a Florida law relating to voter signatures that is a key part of Bill Nelson’s recount strategy. If the judge tosses out the law, tens-of-thousands of rejected ballots in Florida’s election could be added to the state’s official vote tally which Nelson’s legal team believe could help Nelson in the current recount against Rick Scott.
The Wednesday afternoon hearing comes as the first reported “irregularities” surfaced in last week’s election. The report claims return dates on ballots were erroneously altered in four counties, including Broward.
The hearing on the law relating to discrepancies in voter signatures was held in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee Wednesday afternoon concerning a lawsuit that attorneys forl Nelson call one of the “most significant” legal challenges filed in connection with the ongoing vote recount in Florida. The suit challenged a state law that allows untrained election workers to throw out a ballot if they feel the signature doesn’t closely enough match that voter’s signature on file.
“Given the closeness of this election, and the fact that the courts have declared signature-matching laws unconstitutional in several states, we expect this issue to be of considerable importance here in Florida,” Nelson said in a statement released before the hearing.
“So I ask each of you — just consider whether or not you would want your ballot thrown out by an untrained, even though well-intentioned, election worker or a volunteer, all because he or she determined that your signature doesn’t look right,” Nelson continued.
Wednesday’s hearing on voters’ signatures on mail-in and provisional ballots comes as a new issue involving ballots was raised by a report published by Politico. That report claims the Florida Department of State last week asked federal prosecutors to “investigate dates that were changed on official state election documents, the first voting ‘irregularities’ it has flagged in the wake of the 2018 elections.”
The concerns, which the department says can be tied to the Florida Democratic Party, center around date changes on forms used to fix vote-by-mail ballots sent with incorrect or missing information. Known as “cure affidavits,” those documents used to fix mail ballots were due no later than 5 p.m. on Nov. 5 — the day before the election. But affidavits released on Tuesday by the DOS show that documents from four different counties said the ballots could be returned by 5 p.m. on Thursday, which is not accurate.
The report points out one of those four counties was Broward, a Democratic stronghold,
Among those counties is Broward, which emerged as the epicenter of controversy as three statewide races and three local legislative races went into recounts following the Nov. 6 elections. Republicans have pointed to embattled Broward Elections chief Brenda Snipes’ record of past election gaffes in arguing that the largely Democratic country is tilted against them — perhaps fraudulently so.
“The finger pointing, excuses and empty explanations are already popping up, but before this scheme is tossed up as a negligent mistake, consider why would the Democratic Party be telling their own voters the wrong deadline?” the Scott campaign asked in a news release.
“After all, an influx of Democratic voters trying to cast their ballots after the deadline could make it easier for Democrats and liberal groups to play games with the legal process and ultimately fight to change the law – just like they are doing right now,” the release suggested.