League of Women Voters of Florida, Brennan Center Seek to Join Lawsuit to Protect Ballot Count from Political Interference

Today the League of Women Voters of Florida – represented by the Brennan Center and private lawyers – filed to intervene in an existing lawsuit for the purpose of ensuring that every eligible ballot cast in Florida’s Broward County is fairly counted.  Joining the Brennan Center in representation of the League are Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, Michael S. Olin of the law firm Buckner + Miles in Miami, and Michael J. Ryan of the firm Krupnick Campbell Malone Buser Slama Hancock Liberman in Fort Lauderdale.

The League, on behalf of Florida voters, argues that the lawsuit filed by the campaign of Florida Senate candidate and current Governor Rick Scott is attempting to stop counting valid ballots based on a false reading of state law. Over the weekend, the Scott campaign filed a lawsuit against Broward County’s election supervisor, calling on her office to stop counting remaining ballots after missing a Saturday deadline for providing unofficial election results in the Senate race, as well as two other statewide elections.

In today’s filing, the League, through their lawyers, argued that the election supervisor’s failure to meet that initial deadline should not unfairly disenfranchise Florida voters.

“There is clearly a lot to improve in Broward County, and that day will come,” said Myrna Pérez, deputy director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program and head of its voting rights project. “But right now, our top concern is to ensure that eligible voters who submitted their ballots on time have them counted. Voters are not to blame and shouldn’t have to pay the price for the County’s inability to count votes by Saturday. Our only intent in this case is to make sure the people of Florida aren’t deprived of their right to have their ballots count. Full stop.”

“This isn’t about who wins or loses. It’s about making sure that people who wanted to make their voices heard in this election didn’t do so in vain,” said Patricia Brigham, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida. “Any attempt to ignore those ballots is effectively ignoring the will of the people of Florida.”

State law provides that Broward County has until Thursday, November 15 to submit the next unofficial ballot count and until Sunday, November 18 to certify the results. Scott’s lawsuit wrongly claims that the missed deadlines means more ballots cannot continue to be counted. If permitted to intervene, the League will argue that the Saturday deadline should not preclude the counting of previously uncounted valid ballots that were cast in a timely manner.

Click here for a list of documents and filings in the case.

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