Thursday, November 15, 2018

Florida officials fight attempts to suspend ballot recount deadlines

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2018 at 10:39 AM

click to enlarge Onlookers watch rows of poll staffers tackle the first wave of recount ballots inside an Orange County Supervisor of Elections warehouse on Nov. 12 2018. - PHOTO BY JOEY ROULETTE
  • Photo by Joey Roulette
  • Onlookers watch rows of poll staffers tackle the first wave of recount ballots inside an Orange County Supervisor of Elections warehouse on Nov. 12 2018.
After taking the dispute to federal court, the Florida Department of State on Wednesday also went to a state appeals court to fight an attempt to suspend ballot-recount deadlines.

The department’s attorneys filed a notice at the 1st District Court of Appeal as an initial step in challenging a ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers to suspend recount deadlines because of equipment problems in Palm Beach County.

Gievers sided Tuesday with Democrat Jim Bonfiglio, who is locked in a recount for the House District 89 seat in Palm Beach County. The Department of State’s notice filed Wednesday at the 1st District Court of Appeal automatically stayed Gievers’ ruling, according to the filing.

It also came after the department on Tuesday gave notice that it was taking the Bonfiglio case to federal court because the dispute involves federal constitutional issues.

That touched off a flurry of filings in federal court. Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher has said she will not be able to complete four machine recounts by a 3 p.m. deadline Thursday.

Those recounts are in Bonfiglio’s race and the races for U.S. Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner. As a result, Gievers ordered suspension of deadlines for machine recounts and subsequent manual recounts if needed.

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