FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Election officials received hundreds of late ballots in the race for a congressional seat in Florida’s District 20.
Since they came in late, those ballots will not count toward the final results, despite the fact that they were sent more than a week before Election Day.
It’s an extremely tight race with only five votes separating Democrats Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick from Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness.
With such a razor thin lead, every vote counts, which adds to frustrations over the late ballots that can’t count toward the final tally.
“Within Broward County, there’s no reason that a ballot shouldn’t make it to us within a day, especially when they know it’s a ballot,” said Broward Supervisor of Elections Joe Scott.
In total, 751 ballots were not counted because they did not reach the supervisor of elections’ desk by 7 p.m. on Election Day.
Of those ballots, 237 were postmarked before election day, 123 were postmarked on election day and 56 ballots were sent in after Election Day.
Another 299 did not have stamps on them.
Scott was asked about the 237 votes that were postmarked well before Election Day.
“We don’t know,” he said. “Especially with the lack of transparency form the postal service as well it makes it even more difficult to know.”
Scott even personally went to an Opa-locka post office to make sure he was getting all the ballots, but he wasn’t allowed inside.
“They kept me in the entry way, I wasn’t allowed to walk in the second set of doors,” he said.
With the ballots missing the deadline, Scott said there needs to be an easier way to make every vote count.
“I think our state legislature is really focused on making it more difficult for people to vote and putting more restrictions in place and I wish there was a different mindset,” he said. “They worry about voter fraud, this really in a way they are disenfranchising 273 people in a race that’s been separated by five votes.”
Final results are not expected until Friday, when overseas ballots will be tabulated, and recount information will be included.