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Nelson asks federal court for more time in Florida's recount deadline

Posted at 4:36 PM, Nov 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-14 16:36:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is asking a federal court to waive the state's recount deadlines, arguing that there isn't enough time to count all the votes. 

Nelson filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday arguing election precincts should not have to rush and cut corners to get the results in by 3:00 Thursday afternoon.  

Nelson's lawsuit also said votes thrown out because of mismatched signatures on mail-in ballots should ultimately be counted.

Leon County's Supervisor of Elections, Mark Earley, testified Wednesday in court.

Earley said he wants voters to be more careful when signing mail-in ballots to avoid their vote not being counted because of a sloppy signature.

He said these ballots can be traced back to anyone from the elderly to young people to minority voters. 

"I think there needs to be some kind of a validation or verification that vote by mail ballots are coming from the voters themselves instead of being some kind of a voter fraud," said Earley. "The whole vote by mail process is the one most subject to fraud because the ballots are not in our control."  

Earley stated the board matches signatures on file with those on the mail-in ballot.

This year, Leon County received about 27,000 vote-by-mail ballots and rejected fewer than 100 for mismatched or missing signatures.

​Earley said under Florida law, if any county fails to finish a recount by the deadline, the state reverts back to previously reported results. 

Unofficial results have Nelson currently trailing Governor Rick Scott for his Senate seat by razor thin margins.

As of right now, no ruling has been made in the case.