Judges Side With Scott In Election Dispute; Nelson Challenges Signature Law
Judges in Palm Beach and Broward counties sided with Florida Gov. Rick Scott against two supervisors of elections on Friday as Sen. Bill Nelson filed his own lawsuit challenging the state's mail-in ballot signature law.
Circuit Judge Krista Marx on Friday ordered Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher to give the county canvassing board any duplicate ballots and any "overvoted" or "undervoted" ballots that have not yet been provided to the board by 10 a.m. Saturday.
In Broward County, Circuit Judge Carol-Lisa Phillips set a 7 p.m. Friday deadline for Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes to turn over the voter information under Florida's open records laws.
Scott's campaign filed the lawsuits late Thursday, when he said during a news conference that "unethical liberals" are trying to steal the election.
The outgoing Republican governor is running for U.S. Senate against Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson. Scott's thin lead over Nelson will likely prompt a recount.
Nelson says Scott, fears that he will lose the election if all the votes are counted.
Nelson said Friday afternoon that Scott is impeding the democratic process and trying to stop all the votes for Florida's U.S. Senate race from being counted.
Nelson filed a lawsuit Friday, contending all mail-in and provisional ballots rejected over mismatched signatures should be counted.
The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida argues the process for validating mail-in and provisional ballot signatures is not uniform and disenfranchises voters.
Attorney Marc Elias represents the Nelson campaign.
“The problem is that voters in one county are subject to different standards for reviewing signatures than in others, and there is no uniform standard or even sufficient training for this. And it’s highly error-prone.”
Elias also slammed Scott for enlisting the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in the race. Scott asked the FDLE to investigate elections offices in Broward and Palm Beach counties, Democratic strongholds.
“It is not appropriate for the governor of any state to suggest that he is going to use the power of the state as governor to interject his law enforcement authority to prevent the counting of ballots that have been lawfully cast.”