Floridians who voted by mail in the Nov. 6 election and had their ballots rejected because it was determined the signature on their ballots did not match the signature the state has on file for that individual, will have two days to correct the mistake.
In a ruling that was sought by Sen. Bill Nelson’s campaign legal team, U.S. Chief Judge Mark Walker issued a preliminary injunction Thursday morning and ruled that a state law that allows election workers to reject a ballot because of discrepancies in the signature is unconstitutional.
“Consider the game of football,” Judge Walker said in his order. “Football fans may quibble about the substance of the rules, but no one quibbles that rules are necessary to play the game.”
“In this case, the Plaintiffs have thrown a red flag. But this is not football,” Walker continued with his football analogy. “Rather, this is a case about the precious and fundamental right to vote — the right preservative of all other rights. And it is about the right of a voter to have his or her vote counted.”
Under Walker’s order, voters who had their ballots rejected will have until 5 p.m. Saturday to cure their ballots.
The Nelson campaign welcomed the ruling.
“Today’s decision is a victory for the people of Florida and for the Nelson campaign as we pursue our goal of making sure every legal ballot is counted,” said Marc Elias, who is heading up Nelson’s legal team. “The court’s ruling impacts thousands of ballots, and that number will likely increase as larger counties like Broward add their ballots to the total pool which can be cured. We are taking several steps to ensure the rights of every Floridian are protected, and this is one major step forward.”
|“We are immediately appealing this baseless decision and we are confident we will prevail in the Eleventh Circuit,” said Lauren Schenone, the press secretary for Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign in response to Walker’s ruling. ”Bill Nelson’s high-priced Washington lawyers went to court to argue against a process that they previously argued for. It’s worth noting that Marc Elias is currently making the exact opposite argument in a similar case in Arizona
“This also follows recent reports of the Democratic party encouraging and instructing voters to try to vote days after the legal deadline,” Schenone went on to say. “Another day, another chance for Marc Elias to rack up massive legal fees regardless of the blatant hypocrisy… or the damage this will do to Bill Nelson’s legacy.”
Before Wednesday’s court hearing, Nelson called the case one of the “most significant” legal challenges filed in connection with the ongoing vote recount in Florida because it would expand the number of ballot that could be included in the state’s recount. But the order is expected to affect as many as 5,000 ballots,far less than the nearly 13,000 votes Nelson needs to overcome the lead that Gov. Rick Scott currently holds in the race.