CNN’s John King: Democrats in Florida Can Only Hope Courts ‘Bend the Letter of the Law’

• November 15, 2018 2:56 pm


CNN's John King said Thursday that Democrats had no mathematical pathway to winning the Florida Senate race and could only hope a judge would "overlook or bend" the rules.

Senator-elect Rick Scott (R., Fla.) appears to have defeated incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D., Fla.) by over 11,000 votes in the 2018 midterm election, but the results have not yet been certified.

Nelson pursued and received an injunction from a Florida judge, giving alleged voters with mismatched signatures until Saturday night to "cure" their ballots.

The latest debate is over whether to count 4,000 mail-in ballots and provisional ballots with mismatched signatures. By Florida law, the deadline to correct and count the votes has passed. King noted these ballots, even if counted, could not change the election's outcome.

"Even if every one of those was validated and broke for the Democrat," King said, "it would be too small of a number to erase the Republican lead in the Senate race."

King explained Democrats were using these mismatched ballots as one of several extrajudicial measures in an attempt to swing the election. "The hope now for Democrats," King said, "is that the court has already shown its willingness to overlook or bend the letter of the law and that it would do so again."

Leading Democrats have backed the effort to produce more votes for Nelson. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said Wednesday, "I believe he's won a majority of the votes, and as long as they're counted, [Nelson] will continue being senator from Florida."

The judge in the signatures case decided Florida's laws restricting the time and manner in which voters correct mismatched ballots was unconstitutional, and voters, therefore, had more time to "cure" thousands of ballots. "The precise issue in this case is whether Florida’s law that allows county election officials to reject vote-by-mail and provisional ballots for mismatched signatures … passes constitutional muster" the judge wrote. The judge ruled the laws provide "no standards, an illusory process to cure, and no process to challenge the rejection," and therefore "does not."

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has appealed the decision up to the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. The only higher court to which either party could appeal is the Supreme Court.

Published under: 2018 Election, Florida, John King, Midterms