Liberal Dark-Money Group Files Suit to Validate Late Mail-In Ballots in Florida

(Mike Blake/Reuters)

VoteVets, an influential liberal super PAC reliant on obscure funding sources, filed suit Monday in an effort to validate mail-in ballots received after Election Day as part of Democrats’ ongoing effort to win the Florida gubernatorial and Senate victories in recounts.

VoteVets joined the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) in asking the courts to intercede on behalf of voters who mailed their ballots on time but were effectively disenfranchised when the post office failed to deliver them by the Election Day deadline.

Florida law requires that mail-in ballots arrive at a polling place before 7 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted, but the plaintiffs in this case ask that the state count all ballots postmarked prior to the deadline.

The suit is one prong of a broader legal strategy pursued by veteran Democratic attorney Marc Elias in an effort to pull out victories in the state’s senate and gubernatorial races, which Republican nominees Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis continue to lead, after legally mandated recounts. This is, however, the first of Elias’s suits filed in conjunction with a third party on behalf of incumbent Democratic senator Bill Nelson, rather than by Nelson’s campaign directly.

VoteVets is one of many super PACs on both sides of the political aisle to rely on so-called dark money by exploiting a loophole in election law. It technically operates as a 501-C(4) social-welfare nonprofit, which relieves it of the burden of identifying its donors, but practically engages in electioneering on a massive scale. In 2016 for example, it qualified as “the highest spending liberal nonprofit active in federal elections,” outpacing higher-profile outfits like NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Sierra Club, according to Open Secrets.

In explaining its interest in the case, VoteVets argued that a substantial number of Florida’s veterans could be disenfranchised due to forces outside their control should the court fail to intercede.

Elias, a former Clinton attorney retained by Nelson to litigate the ongoing recount, has also filed suit to validate mail-in ballots that were rejected because the signature on the ballot did not match the one already on record. Nelson trailed Governor Rick Scott, the Republican Senate candidate, by more than 50,000 votes on Election Night but that margin has shrunk to roughly 14,000 votes as Broward and Palm Beach Counties continued to report absentee mail-in ballots, triggering a recount under Florida law.

Judge Mark Walker, an Obama appointee who will hear the case, has ruled against the Scott administration on election-related issues in the past. He ruled in 2016 that officials must notify voters if signatures on their mail-in ballots did not match those on their registration forms, providing an opportunity to correct the error before the ballots were rejected. And earlier this year, he ordered state officials to overhaul the system for restoring felons’ voting rights, a decision that was later reversed by a federal appeals court.

Most Popular

White House

Trump and the ‘Racist Tweets’

What does “racist” even mean anymore? Racism is the headline on President Trump’s Sunday tweets -- the media-Democrat complex assiduously describes them as “racist tweets” as if that were a fact rather than a trope. I don’t think they were racist; I think they were abjectly stupid. Like many ... Read More
White House

The Trump Steamroller

As we settle into high summer and the period of maximum difficulty in finding anything to fill in hours of television news, especially 24/7 news television, two well-established political trends are emerging in this pre-electoral period: The president’s opponents continue to dig themselves into foxholes that ... Read More

Men Literally Died for That Flag, You Idiots

The American flag’s place in our culture is beginning to look less unassailable. The symbol itself is under attack, as we’ve seen with Nike dumping a shoe design featuring an early American flag, Megan Rapinoe defending her national-anthem protests (she says she will never sing the song again), and ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Ilhan Omar Is Completely Assimilated

Beto O’Rourke, the losing Texas Senate candidate who bootstrapped his way into becoming a losing presidential candidate, had a message for refugees who had come to America: Your new country is a hellhole. The former congressman told a roundtable of refugees and immigrants in Nashville, Tenn., last week: ... Read More

We All Wanted to Love the Women’s Soccer Team

For the first time in my life, I did not root for an American team. Whatever the sport, I have always rooted American. And if those who called in to my radio show were representative of my audience, many millions of Americans made the same sad choice. It takes a lot for people like me not to root for an ... Read More
White House

On Gratitude and Immigration

Like both Rich and David, I consider it flatly inappropriate for the president of the United States to be telling Americans -- rhetorically or otherwise -- to “go back where you came from.” In consequence, you will find no defense of the president from me, either. What Trump tweeted over the weekend was ... Read More

The ‘Squad’ Gives a Gift to Donald Trump

On Sunday, Donald Trump gave the Democrats a gift -- comments that indicate he thinks native-born congresswomen he detests should “go back” to the countries of their ancestors. On Monday, the four congresswomen handed Trump a gift in return, managing to respond to the president’s insults in some of the most ... Read More

The Plot against Kavanaugh

Justice on Trial, by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino (Regnery,  256 pp., $28.99) The nomination and confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was the political event of 2018, though not for the reasons anyone expected. All High Court confirmations these days are fraught with emotion and tumult ... Read More