Florida Recount: Judge Extends Deadline for Ballot Signature Challenges

A voter drops an election ballot off at the Pitkin County Administration box in Aspen, Colo., on Tuesday Nov. 6, 2018. (Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times via AP)
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times via AP

A federal judge ruled Thursday that Florida voters would have extra time to challenge rejected mail-in or provisional ballots because of signature issues.

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Walker ordered that voters be allowed two extra days to challenge their rejected ballots because of signature problems, hours before counties have to meet a 3:00 p.m. deadline to report their results for the Senate, gubernatorial, and agriculture commissioner races, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Walker, whom former President Barack Obama appointed in 2012, gave voters until Saturday at 5:00 p.m. to challenge their rejected ballots if their signatures did not match the ones in state voter registration records.

“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,” Walker wrote. “The answer is simple. It does not.”

Republicans have already appealed Walker’s decision.

It is unclear if the state will extend the deadline for counties to report their election results based on Walker’s ruling, but another federal judge ruled Tuesday to extend Palm Beach County’s recount deadline to November 20.

The judge’s ruling comes as a Thursday report finds that Florida Democrats urged voters to send in their absentee ballots after Election Day, which was November 6, by using an altered form to make it appear the ballot had been submitted by the state’s legal deadline.

The report states that prosecutors are already aware of the scheme.


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