Judge says 13 disputed Senate votes can be included in recount numbers

Elections supervisor may segregate ballots in event of legal challenge

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Broward County judge ruled Thursday that the Broward County Supervisor of Elections can count 13 U.S. Senate votes called into question by attorneys for Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

Scott's team argued that the votes -- seven in favor of Scott and six in favor of Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson -- were not counted in last Saturday's reporting totals to the state, having failed to meet the submission deadline, and therefore shouldn't be included in Thursday afternoon's recount numbers.

However, Chief Judge Jack Tuter denied the request for an injunction. Tuter cited case law in ruling that voters should not be disenfranchised solely on the failures of elections officials.

"At the end of the day, my responsibility is to follow the law and not get involved in the passion of the various parties who are involved in this election dispute," Tuter said.

Tuter said the elections supervisor may segregate the 25 pages of ballots in the event of a legal challenge.

Unofficial election results show Scott leading Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson by just 0.14 percentage points.

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