Federal judge denies request to extend Florida recount deadline

All 67 counties required to submit results of machine recount by 3 p.m.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A federal judge is refusing to suspend looming election recount deadlines in the battleground state of Florida.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker on Thursday rejected a request by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Democrats to give counties more time to finish recounts.

All 67 counties are required to submit the results of a machine recount by 3 p.m.

Walker slammed Florida for repeatedly failing to anticipate election problems and said the state law on recounts appears to violate the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that decided the presidency in 2000.

"We have been the laughingstock of the world, election after election, and we chose not to fix this," Walker said in court.

Palm Beach County's election supervisor has already warned that the county will not be able to finish on time.

Walker vented his anger at state lawmakers and Palm Beach County officials, saying they should have made sure they had enough equipment in place to handle this kind of a recount.

The overarching problem was created by the Florida Legislature, which Walker said passed a recount law that appears to run afoul of the 2000 Bush v. Gore decision, by locking in procedures that do not allow for potential problems.

In his ruling, Walker said he was concerned that some counties may not complete their work by the deadline. But he said there is a lack of information on when Palm Beach County would wrap up its work.

Walker said he cannot "fashion a remedy in the dark."

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