Cherfilus-McCormick files lawsuit objecting to Holness’ push to count 3 rejected ballots

Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, left, is asking the court to intervene wit the reviewing of three vote-by-mail ballots during the manual recount stage of the 20th Congressional District Democratic primary. (Copyright 2020 by WPLG - All rights reserved.)

LAUDERHILL, Fla. – It has been nine days since Broward County Democratic voters cast their ballots to elect the late Rep. Alcee Hastings’ replacement. Without a clear winner after machine and manual recounts, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick is taking the Broward County Canvassing Board to court.

The review of three vote-by-mail ballots during the manual recount stage of the 20th Congressional District Democratic primary is being called into question. Cherfilus-McCormick decided to sign an emergency election lawsuit on Thursday.

The health care services executive is contesting the board’s decision to count the three vote-by-mail ballots that were initially rejected over issues with the signatures. Her opponent, Broward Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness, wants the board to count them.

Cherfilus-McCormick claims the court needs to “prohibit the illegal counting” of the ballots because these “do not bear signatures that match the voters’ signatures ... as required.” She requested an expedited hearing and alleges the board was not authorized to review vote-by-mail ballots.

Out of the 49,073 ballots, Cherfilus-McCormick was ahead Holness by five votes. The review of the three ballots on Nov. 5 was at the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office in Lauderhill. The board meets on Friday.

There is another issue: Officials reported the U.S. Postal Service delivered many vote-by-mail ballots late. The special general election against Republican Jason Mariner is on Jan. 11.

“The United States Postal Service is committed to fulfilling its role in the electoral process as a secure, efficient and effective way for citizens to participate when policymakers decide to use mail as part of their elections. The Postal Service has a robust and tested process for proper handling and timely delivery of Election Mail,” USPS spokesperson Debra Jean Fetterly said in a statement. “Regarding ballots in elections for Florida’s 20th Congressional district, a representative of the Broward County elections office collected all ballots at the Royal Palm processing center on Nov. 2, as per the prearranged process. The Postal Service is unaware of reports of alleged late-arriving ballots. We continue to process and deliver Election Mail, including ballots, as it is provided to us.”

Read the lawsuit

About the Authors:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."