Florida Recount: Palm Beach County Unable To Make Deadline, Initial Count Stands

Susan Bucher, Supervisor of Elections speak to the elections office workers at the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections office during a recount on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

With the extended deadline granted by a federal judge in Florida to recount votes cast more than one week ago passed, Palm Beach County elections officials say that they were unable to complete their recount. The deadline was 3 p.m. EST, a two-day extension past the required time.

Since the deadline was missed, Palm Beach's original count registered on Saturday will stand.

Palm Beach Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher told reporters earlier that she was disappointed her county would miss the deadline. “The reality is that we were very close two nights ago and then our machines went down,” she said. “It’s not for lack of human effort.”

Palm Beach County's problems magnified on Tuesday, when Bucher announced that some of the outdated machines they use overheated and stopped working.

Thursday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker rejected a request by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Democrats to give counties like Palm Beach additional time to finish recounts.

In his ruling, Walker said that while he was concerned that some counties may not be able to make the deadline, but said there is a lack of information on when Palm Beach County would wrap up its work.

Walker said he cannot “fashion a remedy in the dark.”

The undecided races include the state’s Senate race, which pits incumbent Nelson, a Democrat, against outgoing Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, and the gubernatorial race between Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis.

Florida officially declared a recount Saturday and since then, the state’s 67 county election offices have been racing against time running their ballots through the tallying machine. Some counties only have a few thousand votes but the likes of Miami-Dade has more than 800,000 and Broward clocks in around 700,000.

Both Miami-Dade and Broward finished their machine recounts well ahead of the deadline.

Meanwhile, a federal ruling Thursday morning threw another wrench into Florida’s recount efforts.

Judge Walker gave nearly 5,000 people who had issues with matching signatures an extra two days to correct their mistake. His ruling was part of a suit brought by Nelson's campaign and Democratic Party officials.

Walker ruled that election supervisors must require all voters who were notified they have mismatches signatures correct the problem by 5 p.m. Saturday – which is the same day the results of the manual recount are due.

Nelson’s lead attorney, Marc Elias, took to Twitter to praise the judge’s ruling.

“Big victory in our Florida signature mismatch lawsuit,” he tweeted. “Federal court extends deadline for voters to ‘cure’ their rejected ballots.

Gov. Rick Scott’s lawyers immediately appealed the ruling and said they were “confident we will prevail in the Eleventh Circuit.”

“Bill Nelson’s high-priced Washington lawyers went to court to argue against a process that they previously argued for,” Scott’s campaign spokeswoman Lauren Schenone wrote in a statement.

“It’s worth noting that Marc Elias is currently making THE EXACT OPPOSITE ARGUMENT in a similar case in Arizona. This also follows recent reports of the Democratic party encouraging and instructing to try to vote days after the legal deadline,” she added.

FOX News contributed to this report

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