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US District Judge Delivers Horrible News To The GOP In The Florida Ballot Recount

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It is slightly incredible that in a twenty-first century democracy, the richest country ever and the leading nation of the free world, we could have such a colossal electoral mess as we have seen in Florida in recent weeks. The midterm election races there were marred in chaos ever since election day, with raging debate about whether or not we should actually count the votes. Because counting votes isn’t massively important in democracies, right?

Well, thankfully, we may have just taken an additional step towards a fair result in those races in Florida. US District Court Judge Mark Walker has ruled that thousands of ballots which had been discarded must be counted as part of a statewide recount in close races.

The federal judge dismissed claims that the ballots could be ignored because of technicalities regarding signatures and identity on them, saying that where there could be problems with signatures, voters must be given an additional chance to prove their identity again and thereby “cure” their votes so that they can be counted.

The deadline for that proof is 5 p.m. on Saturday 17 November, with Walker having also assigned a deadline of Tuesday 20 November for the official certification of the results of the midterm elections. Finally.

The news will likely be welcomed by Democrats in the state, who feel that they have been cheated by archaic and often nonsensical electoral rules. The judge’s controversial but welcome ruling will allow them to close gaps in tight races were they are slightly behind Republican candidates, especially among disenfranchised young and minority voters.

The order issued by Judge Walker in the Northern District of Florida reads as follows:

“The precise issue in this case is whether Florida’s law that allows county election officials to reject vote-by-mail and provisional ballots for mismatched signatures — with no standards, an illusory process to cure, and no process to challenge the rejection — passes constitutional muster. The answer is simple. It does not.”

Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is fighting for a Senate seat in one of the disputed races concerned in the ruling, reacted immediately and loudly to the ruling. His spokesperson, Lauren Schenone, said:

“We are immediately appealing this baseless decision and we are confident we will prevail in the Eleventh Circuit. Let’s be clear – 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. 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.”

More on this unfolding story as we get it.


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