Judge rejects suit over Florida mail-in ballots

Counties must finish hand recount by Sunday


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A federal judge is rejecting a lawsuit that challenged Florida’s vote-by-mail deadlines.

A veterans voting rights group and Democrats challenged the Florida law that said ballots mailed inside the United States could not be counted unless they were received by 7 p.m. Election Day.

The groups said that was unconstitutional because overseas voters can have their ballots counted as long as they are postmarked by Election Day and are received within 10 days after the election.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, however, ruled late Friday that these rules were in place for more than a decade and to change them now would “undermine the electoral process.”

Walker also said the state had a right to create some sort of deadline and called the restriction "reasonable."

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker late Thursday ruled against Sen. Bill Nelson and Democrats in another one of the lawsuits surrounding the recount.

During the hand recount, election officials look at just the ballots that weren’t recorded by voting machines.

Under state law, voters must use only approved markings or their ballot is disqualified. And they can’t simply cross out a mistaken vote but must explain in writing why they did so. The lawsuit contends that has a discriminatory effect on non-native English speakers and illiterate voters.

But Walker found the rules were reasonable and constitutional.

Florida counties must finish the hand recount by Sunday.

Broward County

CandidateNov. 6 TotalRecountDifference
Rick Scott211,119210,513-606
Bill Nelson471,334469,949-1,385
Ron DeSantis221,873221,252-621
Andrew Gillum481,677480,304-1,373
Matt Caldwell213,938213,322-616
Nikki Fried478,829477,448-1,381


Miami-Dade County

CandidateNov. 6 TotalRecountDifference
Rick Scott316,014315,817-197
Bill Nelson485,195484,938-257
Ron DeSantis311,762311,556-206
Andrew Gillum479,041478,813-228
Matt Caldwell305,197305,034-163
Nikki Fried475,785475,594-191