The as-of-yet undecided election for Florida’s fiercely contested Senate seat just hit another delay. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker ruled that voters whose ballots were rejected over mismatching signatures be given a chance to verify their identities.
Governor Rick Scott, who currently maintains a 0.2% lead on the incumbent Democrat, Sen. Bill Nelson, had hoped to have the offending absentee and provisional ballots discarded. Mr. Scott is sorely disappointed, as Sen. Nelson and his campaign claim victory in their suit. But this “win” for the Democrats may prove hollow: There don’t appear to be enough contested ballots to make up the difference.
Election integrity is just a sales pitch.
The current skirmish is over voter signatures on absentee and provisional ballots. In Florida, if the signature on your provisional or mail-in absentee ballot doesn’t match your voter registration, your vote gets tossed.
While it’s tempting to lambast the Obama appointed judge for siding with the Democrats, fairness demands a more objective view of the law. Is it reasonable to throw out votes because of mismatching signatures without giving the voter a chance to prove themselves? Think about it: How well do the scrawls on your checks or credit card receipts match the one on file with your bank?
A Fair Ruling?
Judge Walker didn’t rule that all 5,000 or so affected votes must be counted; he merely said that each voter whose ballot signature doesn’t quite match should have the chance to verify it. Only then would they count. The new deadline is 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17. One of Nelson’s lawyers, Uzoma Nkwonta, even argued for dragging it out longer, but Judge Walker denied the request, giving a sound explanation as to why: “At some point, isn’t there some onus on the voter?”
Fighting Just to Fight
While Mr. Scott does make the point that Nelson once defended the very law he now challenges, leftist hypocrisy should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention. Indeed, Scott’s claim carries its own stain of deceit.
Scott declared his determination to immediately appeal, as he calls it, the baseless decision of Judge Walker. But why? Barring some Democratic manufacturing of new votes, Scott’s the Senator-elect anyway. As it stands, he leads Nelson by a measly 0.2% — already a small enough margin to necessitate both a machine and hand recount. But with a lead of 17,505 votes to overcome, Nelson would need 4,318 additional votes to meet Scott at 50.0%.
In all likelihood, this fight has very little to do with the actual merits of the law or the rights of voters. After all, for Scott’s claim that the Democrats tried to defend this regulation before to be true, the GOP had to challenge it. Election integrity is just a sales pitch. In other words, whoever has the lead in a race this close – Democrat or Republican – wants to call it done, while the loser seeks extensions and questions every rule to add in whatever votes they can.
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