A federal judge is refusing to suspend looming election recount deadlines in the battleground state of Florida.
U.S. District Judge Mark Walker on Thursday rejected a request by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Democrats to give counties more time to finish recounts. All 67 counties are required to submit the results of a machine recount by 3 p.m.
Palm Beach County’s election supervisor has already warned that the county will not be able to finish on time.
In his ruling, Walker said he was concerned that some counties may not complete their work by the deadline. But he said there is a lack of information on when Palm Beach County would wrap up its work.
Walker said he cannot “fashion a remedy in the dark.”
The supervisor of elections in Florida’s Palm Beach County said the likelihood of her office completing the recount by the state-mandated 3 p.m. deadline is “very slim.”
Susan Bucher defended her office Thursday morning, saying the incomplete recount wasn’t “for lack of human effort.”
Bucher explained that the elections office in Riviera Beach shut down Wednesday night because “when you work about 45 hours in a row, you have to let people sleep.”
Bucher says she believes her office did everything it could despite not completing the U.S. Senate race recount.
She blames aging equipment for the delays in meeting Thursday’s deadline for machine recount results.
Despite an ongoing recount in Florida for the extremely tight Senate race between Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Bill Nelson, Scott appeared at a photo opp Wednesday on Capitol Hill for newly-elected Republican Senators. (Nov. 14)
A federal judge is sharply criticizing Florida legislators and elections officials in Palm Beach County for the state’s chronic recount issues.
During a hearing on whether to extend the 3 p.m. Thursday deadline in the state’s recount for a U.S. Senate seat the governor’s race, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker noted that Florida has a history of “razor thin” elections, yet Palm Beach County delayed purchasing enough voting machines to handle a recount.
Walker said Florida has been “the laughing stock of the world election after election and we chose not to fix this.”
The judge also said that the recount procedure in Florida law is written in a way that doesn’t allow for possible problems. He suggested that runs against past federal court rulings, including the Bush v. Gore ruling that decided the 2000 presidential recount.