Florida Didn't Count Thousands of Absentee Ballots Mailed Before Election Day


Thousands of ballots for the midterm elections were not delivered to Flordia elections officials in time to count them, according to the Associated Press. Though the 6,670 ballots were mailed before the election, they did not arrive at elections offices until after Election Day, Florida Department of State officials told a federal judge.

And there could be more—this tally represents 65 of the 67 Florida counties. The two not yet counted are Polk County and Palm Beach County—a liberal enclave that was at the center of Florida’s midterm recount controversy.

Three statewide Florida races were close enough to qualify for a recount this election cycle, and were decided by razor-thin margins.

From AP:

In the battle for agriculture commissioner, Democrat Nikki Fried won her election by 6,753 votes. Republican Gov. Rick Scott ousted incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson by slightly more than 10,000 votes.

Florida requires absentee ballots to be counted if they arrive at election offices by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Overseas ballots get an extra ten days to make it to the polls.

Twelve states require all absentee votes to be counted that are postmarked before Election Day, as long as they arrive in the following 3 to 10 days.

Several Democratic organizations have filed a lawsuit arguing that all Florida ballots mailed before Election Day should be counted.

…U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said the restriction was reasonable and that Florida election officials have a right to establish deadlines. He turned down an emergency request that all properly postmarked ballots received up to 10 days after the election be counted.
The lawsuit, however, is still pending and Walker asked that state election officials report how many ballots were mailed before Election Day but ultimately were not counted.

Walker was the judge in six lawsuits filed during the midterm elections regarding vote counting. He ruled in favor of giving voters time to fix the signatures on their absentee ballots to match the one on file with election officials.

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