Senator Bill Nelson sues to count late vote-by-mail ballots

Posted at 12:03 PM, Nov 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-12 13:26:12-05

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is suing the Florida Department of State in an effort to count vote-by-mail ballots that were postmarked before Election Day but not delivered before polls closed.

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Nelson's attorney, Marc Elias, filed the lawsuit Monday, saying voters should not be disenfranchised because of mail delivery delays that aren't their fault. Unofficial election results show Nelson trailing Republican Gov. Rick Scott by 0.14 percentage points.

As an example, he cited the Miami-Dade County postal facility that was evacuated when because explosive devices sent to prominent Democrats were processed there.

"Florida's 7 p.m. Election Day receipt deadline for vote by mail ballots burdens the right to vote of eligible voters," the suit said.

Elias wants all ballots postmarked before Nov. 6 to be counted if they are received within 10 days of the election.

A spokesman for Florida Gov. Rick Scott's Senate campaign says the lawyer for incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson "seems to be content filing frivolous and laughable lawsuits."

Scott campaign spokesman Chris Hartline calls the lawsuit "nothing short of a legal white flag of surrender."