Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Thousands of mailed ballots weren't counted because they reached the offices of Florida election officials too late, the Associated Press
In total, 6,670 ballots mailed ahead of the Nov. 6 election were not counted because they were received after Election Day, a federal judge told the Florida Department of State late last week. Totals from 65 of the state's 67 counties were prepared by state officials. Palm Beach County and Polk County are the two counties yet to report their totals.
State law says ballots mailed inside the U.S. are required to reach election offices by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Ballots mailed from overseas are counted if they are received up to 10 days following the election.
Several statewide races in Florida were especially tight last month, as Democrat and marijuana lobbyist Nikki Fried held off Republican state Rep. Matt Caldwell by a mere 6,753 votes in the Agriculture Commissioner race and term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Scott ousted three-term Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson by just more than 10,000 votes.
Following the 2018 midterms, two Democratic organizations and VoteVets Action Fund
, a progressive advocacy group for veterans, filed a lawsuit that argued the ballots should count if they were mailed prior to Nov. 6.
U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, who was involved in a several separate lawsuits
filed after Election Day, said the restriction was fair, noting that state officials have a right to establish deadlines. Walker also nixed an emergency request that all properly postmarked ballots received up to 10 days after Nov. 6 be counted.
The lawsuit is still pending, as Walker awaits state election officials report of how many ballots were mailed before Election Day but not counted.
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