|Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (L) and Gov. Rick Scott (R)|
A federal judge has ordered an injunction to allow voters whose signatures don’t appear to match on their ballots in the hotly-contested Florida race for US Senate to correct their ballots.
U.S. Chief Judge Mark Walker issued a preliminary injunction this morning in a lawsuit filed by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson over ballots thrown out because of mismatched signatures — declaring a state law unconstitutional and offering a middle path to give voters a few days to correct their ballots.
“The precise issue in this case is whether Florida’s law that allows county election officials to reject vote-by-mail and provisional ballots for mismatched signatures — with no standards, an illusory process to cure, and no process to challenge the rejection — passes constitutional muster,” Walker said. “The answer is simple. It does not.”
The ruling is a victory for Nelson as he tries to narrow the almost 13,000 vote margin between him and Gov. Rick Scott in a razor-thin Senate race that is currently the subject of multiple lawsuits and is undergoing a machine recount, which will likely progress to a hand recount.
After Walker’s order was filed, the National Republican Senatorial Committee filed a notice of appeal to the 11th Circuit.
Election officials have identified 3,688 vote-by-mail ballots and 93 provisional ballots in 45 counties that were not tabulated because of signature mismatches.
Based on 2016 results, the total could be as high as 5,000.