Federal Judge Extends Florida Election Deadline to Correct Rejected Signatures

“The right of voters to cast their ballots and have them counted is guaranteed in the Constitution.”

Tom Williams/ZUMA

A federal judge on Thursday ordered Florida election officials to allow voters whose ballots had been rejected because they were deemed to have mismatched signatures two additional days to correct the issue, extending the state’s deadline to validate votes from Thursday to Saturday.

Republican Senate candidate Rick Scott’s campaign said that it would appeal the decision, which affects at least 4,000 voters whose mail-in or provisional ballots had been rejected due to the state’s signature-matching law.

In his ruling, Judge Mark Walker said that Florida’s mismatched signature law did not pass “constitutional muster” because it had been used with “no standards” and without a process for voters to challenge officials’ determination. 

“Without this Court’s intervention, these potential voters have no remedy,” Walker wrote in his ruling. “Rather, they are simply out of luck and deprived of the right to vote. What is shocking about Florida law is that even though a voter cannot challenge a vote rejected as illegal, any voter or candidate could challenge a vote accepted as legal.”

“The right of voters to cast their ballots and have them counted is guaranteed in the Constitution,” he continued. “Once again, Florida’s statutory scheme threatens that right by rejecting votes based on signature mismatch without an opportunity to challenge that determination.”

Thursday’s decision comes as the latest nail-biting development in Florida’s Senate and gubernatorial races, both of which President Donald Trump has repeatedly and falsely claimed have been tainted by voter fraud. Amid the baseless accusations, a Florida judge earlier this week said that he has not seen any evidence to support those claims and ordered involved parties to “ramp down the rhetoric.”

Voters will now have until 5 p.m. EST on Saturday to correct the issue.

One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.