On the eve of the first huge wave of mail ballots being sent to Florida voters, Democrats filed a federal lawsuit Monday against Gov. Rick Scott’s chief elections official, challenging a law that results in thousands of ballots being discarded each election. The Florida Democratic Party (FDP) and the Democratic National Committee sought an injunction in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee to prevent county canvassing boards from rejecting ballots in cases where the signature of a voter on the mail ballot envelope does not match the same voter’s signature on file. The lawsuit noted that state law has a “cure” mechanism for voters who forget to put a signature on a mail ballot. They can return a signed affidavit to their county elections office confirming their identity. But no such cure exists for cases known as mismatched signatures. Hundreds of them were invalidated across the state in the Aug. 30 primary for that reason, and the number likely will be much larger in November because millions more people will be voting.
“Florida’s policy of failing to provide voters an opportunity to cure alleged signature defects on vote-by-mail ballots directly harms FDP, its members, and constituents,” the lawsuit states. “FDP is directly harmed because Democratic voters are more likely than Republican voters to have their vote denied due to an apparent signature mismatch. Accordingly, it is more likely that Democratic voters will not have their vote counted, thereby, decreasing the overall likelihood that FDP will be successful in its efforts to help elect Democratic candidates to public office.”
… The Democrats’ lawsuit, filed by Washington, D.C. attorney Marc Elias, comes as the party is urging as many voters as possible to cast their ballots by mail. Many Florida Democrats have received letters signed by President Barack Obama, in which he writes: “In Florida, voting is easier than ever because now you can vote by mail. It’s the fastest and most convenient way to make your voice heard.”