Federal Court: Florida Election Statute “Illogical, Irrational and Patently Bizarre” Orders State to Allow Correction of Mismatched Signature Ballots

gavelFlorida Northern U.S. District Court Judge Mark Walker has entered another order in a case initiated by the Florida Democratic Party against the State.  In an Order Granting Preliminary Injunction, the Court found that “[i]t is illogical, irrational and patently bizarre for the State of Florida to withhold the opportunity to cure from mismatched signature voters while providing the same opportunity to no signature voters”.  Therefore, the court concluded Florida’s “statutory scheme” regarding the opportunity to cure signature defects in mail-in ballots unconstitutional. See F.S. 101.68. This ruling will likely apply to thousands of mail-in ballots and will require county supervisors to notify mail-in voters whose ballot signatures don’t match registration records that they can correct their signatures by 5pm the day before the election. Judge Walker previously ordered the Governor to extend the voter registration deadline to October 18th, 2016.

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Thomas D. Shults, Esq.

About Thomas D. Shults, Esq.

Tom Shults is a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer and represents clients in election and sunshine law issues, complex business and commercial disputes and probate and trust suits. He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1983 and has maintained an active trial practice in state and federal courts for over 35 years. Tom represents candidates, political parties and political action committees in election disputes and election law litigation. He successfully represented the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections in Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections et al. v. Browning et al. , where the Florida Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of Sarasota County’s charter election law amendments. Tom has served on the Professional Ethics Committee of The Florida Bar and is the past Chairman of the Code and Rules of Evidence Committee of The Florida Bar. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Community Service Award of the Sarasota County Bar Association for his work with the Sarasota Mental Health Community Centers. In 2013 he was nominated for circuit court judge by the 12th Circuit Judicial Nominating Committee. Tom has served on the faculty of the Kessler-Eidson Program for Trial Techniques at Emory University School of Law and on the faculty of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy Program for Practicing Lawyers at Nova Southeastern University School of Law. Tom grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida and is a graduate of St. Petersburg High School (1973), Florida State University (B.S. 1977) and Washburn University School of Law (J.D. cum laude 1982). He is veteran of the United States Army.
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