Thousands of Mailed Ballots Not Counted in Tight Florida Elections

Florida officials said they did not count more than 6,600 mailed ballots because they arrived too late, The Associated Press reports.

The Department of State told a federal judge that 6,670 ballots that were sent in ahead of Election Day were not counted because they were not received by the election night deadline. The tally includes 65 of the state’s 67 counties with Palm Beach and Polk Counties yet to report.

The news comes after all three statewide races went to a recount because they were so close.

Democrat Nikki Fried won the race for agriculture commissioner by 6,753 votes, Republican Rick Scott won the Senate race by just over 10,000 votes, and Republican Ron DeSantis won the governor’s race by just over 30,000 votes.

Under state law, ballots must arrive at election offices by 7 pm on election day unless they are overseas ballots, which can arrive up to 10 days after the election.

The tallies were submitted in response to a lawsuit by VoteVets Action Fund and two other groups who asked a judge to order the ballots to be counted.

US District Judge Mark Walker, who was involved in numerous lawsuits filed ahead of the recount and allowed voters more time to fix issues with their mail-in ballots, ruled that the deadline was reasonable and rejected a request for the ballots to be counted.

The lawsuit is still pending after Walker asked state officials to report how many ballots were mailed before Election Day but not counted.

Florida elections set for a massive shift: It seems that Florida always finds itself in razor-thin statewide and presidential races but a new amendment approved by voters could add more than a million new voters to rolls, massively reshaping the state’s elections.

Voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 4, which would restore voting rights to 1.5 million Floridians barred from voting because they were convicted of felonies. The amendment excludes murderers and felony sex offenders.

The amendment would change the electoral landscape -- if Florida officials don’t muck it up. State officials have not given instructions to election officials on how to proceed because they don’t have a plan to restore voting rights even though the amendment said the voting rights would be “automatically” restored.

“Beginning Jan. 8, any former felon who has completed all the terms of their sentence should be able to register to vote by affirming that their rights have been restored (Question #2 on the state’s Voter Registration Application) the same way they affirm that they are U.S. citizens (Question #1), according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

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