Court orders Florida elections chief to meet deadline today on fixing mail ballots
Gov. Rick Scott’s chief elections officer is under a court-imposed deadline to allow mail ballots with signature defects to be fixed in time to be counted in the upcoming election — a ruling that could affect thousands of Florida voters.
Calling the state’s election laws “a severe burden on the right to vote,” U.S. District Judge Mark Walker ordered Secretary of State Ken Detzner Sunday to allow a cure in cases in which a voter’s signature on a mail ballot envelope does not match the signature on file.
If Detzner does not comply with the order by the close of business Monday, the judge said he will take “appropriate action,” which could include holding Detzner in contempt of court.
Attorneys for Detzner opposed the court action and unsuccessfully argued that Detzner was not the appropriate official to be given the order. That prompted an angry Walker to cancel a scheduled hearing and issue an extraordinary ruling on Sunday night, about three weeks before the presidential election.
Detzner’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.