Time Deadline for Florida Vote Count Extended

In the case of Democratic Executive Committee of Florida v. Detzner, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida (per Walker, J.) issued the following order:

Defendant Detzner [in his capacity as Florida Secretary of State] is ordered to issue a directive to the supervisors of elections (with this Order attached) advising them (1) Florida’s statutory scheme as it relates to curing mismatched-signature ballots has been applied unconstitutionally; and (2) in light of this Court’s order, they are required to allow voters who have been belatedly notified they have submitted a mismatched-signature ballot to cure their ballots by November 17, 2018, at 5:00 p.m. The supervisors of elections shall allow mis-matched-signature ballots to be cured in the same man-ner and with the same proof a mismatched-signature ballot could have otherwise been cured before November 5, 2018, at 5:00 p.m.

The basis for the decision is effectively set forth in these two paragraphs:

 In this case, the Plaintiffs have thrown a red flag. But this is not football. Rather, this is a case about the precious and fundamental right to vote—the right preservative of all other rights. And it is about the right of a voter to have his or her vote counted. There is no doubt there must be election laws. There is no doubt that to run an election, the state must impose deadlines and rules to govern an efficient and transparent election process. There is no doubt that election officials must make certain calls, under the rules, that deserve review. And there is no doubt some of those calls may hinge on highly subjective factors.

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.

3 thoughts on “Time Deadline for Florida Vote Count Extended”

  1. With all the fuss about Florida voting in this century, you would think someone would have challenged an unconstitutional signature provision in court well BEFORE the election. Democrars dropped the ball here big time.

    1. The ruling on which you’re commenting covers that question in some depth.

      “Their legal votes were rejected based on
      a signature mismatch, but they did not even receive notice that
      their votes would not count until the time to cure—as established
      by state law—had passed…There was no possible way for voters to foresee before
      the election that the cure period would absolutely fail them…they could argue the lawyers involved in this case should
      have foreseen problems with the statute, but even that is not clear.
      Ultimately, Plaintiffs could not have known before the election
      that the injunction entered by this Court in 2016 and the amendment
      to Florida law added nothing. The deficiencies of the law
      were not realized until voters were informed after the time to cure
      passed that their votes were rejected…Plaintiffs could not have foreseen that this Court’s previous
      injunction and the amended Florida law that requires an opportunity
      to cure would, in reality, be an illusory solution that fails
      to meaningfully protect the right to vote.”

    2. Isn’t there a general rule of procedure that you can only bring a suit [of this type] if you claim you’ve been harmed? I don’t think you can bring suit “against a law (or procedure)” based on the potential that you might be harmed in the future.

      I may be wrong about this, but I think it’s the concept of “standing.”

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