A federal judge on Saturday issued a scathing rebuke to Florida’s top election official in an order canceling a hearing on a lawsuit over vote-by-mail ballots. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker accused Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner of delaying a hearing on the lawsuit “so that he could use every second available to run out the clock” so there wouldn’t be enough time to address problems raised in the lawsuit. The judge also said Detzner’s actions amounted to an “undeclared war” on the right to vote in Florida, the largest swing state in the presidential election. The judge in Tallahassee, Fla., said he would make a decision on the lawsuit without a hearing that had been set for Monday.
“This court will not allow the Florida Secretary of State — a high-level officer of the State of Florida — to take a knee and deprive Florida citizens of their most precious right,” Walker said in his order.
A spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office, Meredith Beatrice, said in an email that the department had responded by the court’s deadline. She also said her office wasn’t the right defendant in the lawsuit since canvassing of mail-in ballots is done by county canvassing boards.