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Making Sense of the Numerous Election Lawsuits

November 13th, 2018 by Jake Stofan

A frenzy of lawsuits from Republicans and Democrats have been filed since election night and they show no sign of slowing down.

Political experts say while some are frivolous, others could succeed.

GOP strategist Mac Stipanovich advised Republicans through the 2000 election.

He says the lawsuits from both parties since the election follow a basic principle.

“If you’re ahead you think there’s been plenty of votes counted. If you’re behind, you think there should be a lot more votes counted,” said Stipanovich.

Following that logic, a suit filed by Governor Rick Scott, aims to disqualify votes counted after the noon reporting deadline Saturday.

A similar suit was filed by Ag Commissioner candidate Matt Caldwell that alleges mail ballots received after Election Day were counted and should be thrown out.

Elections Supervisors say the allegations of fraud are irresponsible.

“Going down the ‘Trumpian’ road and throwing charges against the wall and seeing which ones stick, does not serve our nation and does not serve the citizens of Florida well at all,” said former Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho.

Democrats want a Federal Court to rule against Florida’s signature matching requirement for mail ballots.

The case will be heard Wednesday.

The suit cites a recent ACLU report that found Democrats are more likely to have their ballots disqualified because of mismatched signatures than Republicans.

Democrats argue there is no statewide standard for determining whether a signature matches or not.

It could succeed based on previous court rulings made during the 2000 election.

“Judges give the benefit of the doubt to the voter and they don’t penalize them for errors that don’t go to the heart of them exercising their right to vote,” said Stipanovich.

Another lawsuit filed by Democrats aims to count mail ballots postmarked before Election Day, but received by supervisors past the deadline.

Republicans say state law is clear.

“Obviously when the law specifically says at 7 PM on Election Day that seems like a firm cut off,” said Chairman of the Leon County Republican Party Evan Power.

Democrats have also sued to remove the Governor from the Elections Canvasing Commission, which will certify final results.

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