Elections

Judge rules Broward can count legal votes added after the unofficial state deadline

Broward County starts machine recount of election ballots

Broward County started the actual machine recount of election ballots Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 10:40 a.m.
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Broward County started the actual machine recount of election ballots Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 10:40 a.m.

A Florida judge ruled this week that Broward can tabulate the ballots it counted after the unofficial state deadline on Nov. 10.

Rick Scott’s campaign for the U.S. Senate sued Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes for counting 13 votes canvassed by judges past the unofficial noon deadline on Nov. 10 to report totals to the state. His lawyers asked a judge to stop Broward from counting those votes in the final tally, calling it a threat to “the integrity of the 2018 election.”

The League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause Florida joined in on the suit on behalf of Broward County, arguing that the votes were legal and able to be counted until the Nov. 15 and Nov. 18 post-recount return deadlines.

Judge Jack Tuter ruled that Broward is allowed to count those votes — 7 of which were Rick Scott votes and 6 were Bill Nelson votes — and must preserve them in case of future litigation.

“This is a win for Florida voters because counting every eligible vote is how democracy is supposed to work,” Anjenys Gonzalez-Eilert, the executive director of Common Cause Florida, said in a statement. “Tossing out timely ballots would have been a gross injustice and this ruling will restore the faith of voters in the process.”

Myrna Pérez, deputy director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program and head of its voting rights project, called the suit one of the Scott campaign’s “shameful attempts” to improperly reject the voice of voters.

Scott’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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