Bill Nelson lawyer: Unopened ballots exceed Rick Scott victory margin

missing absentee ballots

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s legal team says the number of uncounted vote-by-mail ballots exceeds incoming Sen. Rick Scott’s margin of victory when he defeated the incumbent in November.

“Remember when we thought 6,670 mail ballots in Florida were rejected due to failure by the post office to deliver them in time to the counties?” said Nelson attorney Marc Elias on social media. “Well, we now know it was 6,882 ballots. And over 4,000 ballots were thrown out for signature mismatch. Nelson lost by 10,033 votes.”

But Jessica Furst Johnson, National Republican Senate Committee counsel, said Scott’s margin of victory remained insurmountable.

“Even if this were true,” she responded, “it would be almost EIGHT times the largest vote margin where an American recount actually flipped the election result. Completely irresponsible to drag FL through a recount under those circumstances.”

Nelson conceded the election on Nov. 18, twelve days after the election and after filing several lawsuits looking for more votes to be counted.

Elias, who represented Democrats including former Minnesota Sen. Al Franken and former Washington Gov. Maria Cantwell when they won after statewide recounts, led Nelson’s ultimately unsuccessful effort to hold his seat after a historically close election.

Nelson’s team did successfully fight for an extension for voters to cure signatures on vote-by-mail ballots.

But a judge denied Nelson’s request to count ballots that arrived after Election Day but were postmarked before that time.

Legal appeals have continued even after Nelson’s concession, and Elias said updated figures show a greater number of ballots that originally believed came in after Election Day.

Florida law says vote-by-mail ballots must be received by the time polls close on Election Day in order to be opened.

But a number of election supervisors in the wake of three statewide recounts this year said mail channels have increasingly proven unreliable. Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux, president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, previously told Florida Politics the issue should be discussed as lawmakers revisit election reform this year.

“Everyone of us has seen issues since the U.S. Postal Service closed many of its regional processing centers,” Lux said. “That can impact elections, and I tend to agree we need to be looking at allowing at least a couple days after an election.”

Of course, for the 10,882 ballots Elias referenced to swing the election to Nelson’s favor would require the uncounted votes to go overwhelmingly in the Democrat’s favor.

Presuming every unopened ballot contained a legitimate vote for Senate, Nelson would need to win more than 96 percent of those votes to catch up with Scott.

Ultimately, Scott’s narrow 10,033-vote margin of victory represented just 0.14 percent of the nearly 8.2 million votes cast and counted.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


29 comments

  • Henry Jimenez

    December 16, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    That’s pure BS! Most Florida counties are conservatives and the main reason why Nelson lasted this long in office is only due to the fact that he either ran unopposed, opposed by an insignificant opponent or thanks to election offices’ vote counting “incompetence”.

    • Genette Garcia

      December 16, 2018 at 9:52 pm

      And?? To guess that all those ballots were for Nelson is a fantasy. Rick Scott is the Senator elect

      • Cheryl Fox

        December 17, 2018 at 11:40 am

        Are you satisfied with this just because Rick Scott won, or would you be equally ok with it if he lost?
        Partisan politics should not be at play in any election.

    • s tedrow

      December 17, 2018 at 6:10 am

      with the republicans track record of cheating, it wouldn’t surprise me, seems every time there is suspect election fraud, the R’s are the ones caught.

      • H. Jimenez

        December 18, 2018 at 9:17 am

        S Tedrow, read the court transcripts on the cases brought based on Florida elections and you will find that there were many illegal votes (from non-US-citizens) and ALL were for Democrats, which of course they wanted admitted but the Republicans objected every time! Read the court cases and educate yourself. Don’t believe the media do your own research and open your eyes. The fraud is coming from the Democrats not the Republicans.

        • Nydia Cabrera

          December 19, 2018 at 9:36 am

          Wrong, Mr. Jimenez. The fraud came from the republicans when they hired Brenda Snipes back in 2000. Since then, we’ve been having irregularities in the electoral process. The candidate opposing DWS, Tim Canova, won the lawsuit for the Broward precint in case, for they destroyed the ballots after the election in 2016.. And that is of public knowledge and of public record.. for your information..

        • Nancy Pickard

          December 21, 2018 at 8:13 pm

          I remember when Obama went on national TV and urged illegal citizens to vote. Desperation was blatant. No wonder The Federal Bureau of Matters had to create “The Insurance policy”, and very quickly at that. Democrats will fill out a mail in ballot, then vote in person. Some will travel from state to state in buses to vote multiple times. Senior 2016 Democrat campaign managers admitted it in undercover “Project Veritas” videos, the next day they were immediately fired. We need a very secure cross check method used to cross check names DOBs through a highly secure National database, so most Americans can have more confidence that their votes won’t be cancelled out by an illegal, an inelilligble, a deceased, or multiple voters. ALL DEMOCRATS!

          • H. Jimenez

            December 21, 2018 at 8:22 pm

            You are 100% right!

    • Dan

      December 18, 2018 at 8:55 pm

      I can’t believe they actually throw out even bad ballots. After all the voting probs esp in Florida that’s insane.

  • Jim Poulos

    December 16, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    You’re a jackass. You assume that every uncounted ballot was for Nelson. Nelson lost because he was unproductive. Nelson was coasting on past performance. Florida needs new elected officials. People like Nelson justify term limits for all elected positions.

    • Brian Preston

      December 16, 2018 at 9:17 pm

      It is what it is..not worth losing sleep! But..it was the dems disposing votes in Broward!

  • Jalen Barber

    December 16, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    Good reporting. Also, wasnt there ballots left In mailing facilities uncounted as well?

    • Ralph

      December 16, 2018 at 10:02 pm

      Demograts socialist were trying steel the election like in venezuela

  • Joseph M Maikisch

    December 16, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    Are not the people who took so long to mail their ballot really to blame. You can request your ballot weeks in advance. If you mailed timely this would not be an issue. If voting is important to you, you will make sure that you either vote early, mail timely, or vote the old-fashioned way on Election Day.

  • Julia

    December 16, 2018 at 11:28 pm

    Some of you question why people are unhappy about uncounted ballots…
    Scott spent $62 million of his own money. It was stated that ballots had not been delivered which unfortunately could not be counted. Were they intentionally not delivered? Maybe it’s time ALL of us update our signatures so that will be a non issue. Voting rolls being purged decreased voters which had been Scott’s intent. Voters passed an amendment for Felons as soon as meet new criteria be alliwed ti register. Now GOP has put up road blocks just ad they’ve done after past amendments have been passed.

    • Pat

      December 17, 2018 at 12:09 am

      Julia, what are you ON? Best get off of it & start using your Brain before writing your comments!

  • PAUL ULMAN

    December 17, 2018 at 1:19 am

    I think Ellias has a point. Look in California. Seeing how the Democrats were able to flip at least 6 house seats using voted “counted” after election date make you wonder if the turnout of “these found” votes is 100% democrat and 0% Republican. Lol….what these corrupt Democrats do is like peeing into the pool from standing on the diving board. They dont feel embarrassed at all screaming that they win by committing fraud.

  • Charla

    December 17, 2018 at 5:34 am

    Just goes to show Democrats are sore losers. It was time for him to go. I’ve been voting against him since 1992

  • Paul M

    December 17, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    Bill Nelson would have won if they counted all the votes. Everyone’s vote should count. We have a corrupt voting system here in Florida!!!

    • H. Jimenez

      December 18, 2018 at 9:09 am

      Paul M, the Court cases show that “somehow” votes from illegal individuals (non-US-citizens) were found and the Democrats wanted them to be admitted because they were ALL for Nelson/Gillum! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? Read the court transcripts, it will enlighten you. Nelson had to go. He did nothing for us. He was nowhere to be found during all hurricanes, whereas Scott was always there. Currently they are both our representatives and they should do their job and look after their constituents. Nelson has failed to do that! He had to go and we all know it.

      • Adam

        December 18, 2018 at 5:30 pm

        You keep mentioning these “court cases.” Would you mind providing a link to them? I would like to check them out myself, instead of relying on a partisan’s comments on a web page.

      • adam

        December 18, 2018 at 5:44 pm

        H. Jimenez, are you talking about the Scott campaign alleging fraud?
        After Scott requested investigation, law enforcement says no voter fraud allegations found

        TALLAHASSEE — After the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Thursday night it would investigate two local election officials at the request of Gov. Rick Scott, the agency now says that because no voter fraud allegations were made, it is no longer pursuing an investigation.

        “What changed is that this morning we spoke with the Department of State and they indicated they had no criminal allegations of fraud,” FDLE spokesperson Gretl Plessinger said. “So, after speaking to them, we offered our assistance in the event any criminal allegations are identified.”

        A judge hearing a lawsuit over the Florida Senate recount already underway said there was no evidence that election officials or workers had engaged in misconduct, and denied a request for an injunction to impound ballots and voting machines while not in use in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Democratic voters predominate in those counties.

      • Adam

        December 18, 2018 at 6:00 pm

        I actually think Scott ran a better campaign, and that Nelson took votes for granted. However, I thought the way that the post-election ballot kerfuffle was poorly handled by Scott and his fellow Republicans, especially Trump. Are they going to cry fraud every time an election doesn’t go their way? They accuse the Democrats of doing the same, and there are indeed cases of voter fraud and voter suppression in North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas to name a few – all perpetrated by Republicans. Then there’s the crazy result in Wisconsin, where Democrats won 65% of the votes for their state legislature, but only ended up with 45% of the seats, thanks to outrageous gerrymandering. Then to add insult to injury, they are severely limiting the powers of the incoming Democratic governor, unapologetically, so that they can hold on to power, even though they lost. Yes, both parties have shown they are capable of cheating and other fraud, but let’s be honest, corruption has been primarily a Republican thing for the last 40 years.

  • George F

    December 17, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    The closed post offices and delayed deliveries were due to a Trump Loony. The deadline extension should have been as long as it took for all the votes to reach their respective polling offices a two week minimum at least and the bullshit of the electonic file transfer finishing a couple of minutes late is unconscionable. Florida is Trumpy a Teavangelical Banana Republic

  • Paul M

    December 17, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    We had a corrupt Governor now we have a corrupt Senator!!!

  • Paul M

    December 17, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    I really really agree with you George!!!

  • Mark Anderson

    December 18, 2018 at 8:00 am

    I will never mail in a ballot or encourage someone to do so. Mail in ballots are not counted.

  • MesaWind

    December 18, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    It doesn’t need a recount , it needs a complete redo outside of FL machine process’ because Prick Scott & Debbie WTFman Shultz wrapped up the algorithms inside those damn machines to switch votes in their favor. It’s been proven those machines are hackable and have remote access.
    For further research, Greg Palast has been reporting on the theft of Elections since the year 2000.

Comments are closed.


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