Sen. Bill Nelson’s (D-Fla.) campaign filed a lawsuit on Tuesday seeking to bar Florida’s top elections official from rejecting unconventionally marked ballots. The lawsuit, filed in federal court by both Nelson and the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm in Tallahassee, asks a judge to ensure that the Florida Department of State does not disqualify ballots where selections are marked in different ways, so long as the voter’s intention is clear. A ruling in the lawsuit could be key in determining whether numerous ballots are tallied if the Senate race in Florida goes to a hand recount. The lawsuit argues that Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner’s office could reject ballots on which a voter may have marked a selection in more than one way.
Such ballots may appear as overvotes or undervotes — ballots on which a voters’ selections either exceed or fall below the maximum number of selections allowed — in vote-counting machines and therefore may have been overlooked by county election officials.
The Nelson campaign’s lawsuit asks a judge to ensure that such ballots are counted should the Senate race go to a hand recount.
“The State will incur no burden in counting the votes of voters who clearly indicated their definite choice for Florida’s U.S. Senate race, but may not have done so in the same manner for every race on the ballot or may not have cancelled-out erroneous overvotes using written words …,” the lawsuit reads.