Sen. Bill Nelson’s (D-FL) Senate campaign and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday seeking to extend the Thursday deadline for county election officials statewide to complete a machine recount.
In the lawsuit, lawyers representing the Democrats argue that officials in certain parts of Florida will not be able to complete a machine recount by Thursday and that such an incomplete recount would violate the Constitution.
“Arbitrary application of an unreasonable deadline violates the prohibition against undue burdens on the right to vote, enshrined under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and subjects Florida voters to disparate treatment and inconsistent standards in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause,” Democrats alleged in their complaint.
The complaint notes that Palm Beach County elections supervisor Susan Bucher said Monday that because the machines used to conduct the recount can only tally one race at a time, the county will only be able to complete a recount in the Senate race by the Thursday deadline. The county also needs to conduct recounts for the governor and agriculture commissioner races.
A state judge has already extended the deadline in Palm Beach County by five days, giving election officials until Nov. 20 to complete its recounts. The ruling came in a case brought by a Democratic state House candidate who is also locked in a tight race requiring a recount.
The complaint filed by Nelson and the DSCC also notes that officials in Broward County were delayed in starting the recount there due to technical glitches.
The lawsuit also asks a federal judge to prevent Republican Gov. Rick Scott, Nelson’s opponent in the Senate race, and other Republican state officials from playing any role in certifying the election results.
Nelson has accused Scott of attempting to undermine the recount process and on Monday called on Scott to “remove himself from any role in the recount process.”
Read the complaint: