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VoteVets, Liberal Dark-Money PAC, Sues to Validate Post-Election Day Ballots

November 13, 2018 - 6:00am
Attorney Marc Elias maneuvered the VoteVets suit
Attorney Marc Elias maneuvered the VoteVets suit

It's been two years since we've seen them, but 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. It's part of the 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.

So, now it's the post office's fault.

Florida law requires mail-in ballots to arrive at a polling place before 7 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted. Never mind Florida law. The plaintiffs in this case want the state to count all ballots postmarked prior to the deadline.

Republicans have said the suit is one prong of a broader legal strategy veteran Democratic attorney Marc Elias has set in motion to pull out victories in the state’s top two races, which Republican nominees Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis continue to lead -- even after legally mandated recounts. Elias has filed this one in conjunction with a third party on behalf of incumbent 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. As Open Secrets explains, 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.

Why is VoteVets so interested? The group claims 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, is the attorney who arrived in Florida and announced he was "here to win the election for Bill Nelson." He 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 Scott 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 and a slew of suspicions Democrats have committed fraud.

Scott probably didn't catch a break: Obama appointee Judge Mark Walker will hear the case. Walker has ruled against the Scott administration on election-related issues in the past. In 2016, for instance, he ruled officials should 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. That decision later was reversed by a federal appeals court.

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith. Much of the information for this story was gleaned from National Review.


just shut up and count. Whoever wins, wins...

ALL FLORIDA VOTING LAWS were established PRIOR to "Elections". Any attempt to challenge them at this point is simply a Liberal-Lawyer-Circle-Jerk --- FOLLOW OUR ESTABLISHED LAW!

Fugeddaboudit, Smith! Your boys are up by some 12,000 and some 33,000 respectively and there's very little likelihood the recount will completely reverse the election day results. This GOP partisan harping, whining, and crying about the recount just shows Republicans to be anti-voter, anti-democracy, and anti-American! Zip it ... and count!

Why even have have election laws??? They mean nothing, and when races are tight we need to manufacture as many Democrat votes as possible! Count those provisionals lacking credible ID! Count those mail-ins with no signature! Count those “discovered” ballots where the chain-of-evidence is non-existent!

No surprise that those voting for criminals would sell their souls, and any hope for democracy, to win. Would they really be happier under fascist regimes?

Fascism: a form of radical authoritarian ultranationalism, characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy. Sounds to me like the GOP under Trump, McConnell, the so-called 'Freedom Caucus', and the attendees at Trump's pep rallies. (???)

Extraordinary claims of fraud need extraordinary demonstrations of fraud . . . . . . . . or constitute slander or libel . . . . . . . neither Rick Scott's election "monitors" nor FDLE have indicated that fraud evidence exists . . . . . . what handwriting standards do the counties uniformly apply for mail-in ballots? . . . . is a signature rejected in Bay County based on the same analysis in Palm Beach County? . . . . . if not, that's an equal protection issue. . . . . . . . . . .can all counties allow ballots via email (like Bay Co. did - is that election fraud?) . . . . . . . . to have Trump (and other GOPers) want to go back to election day vote totals and thereby disenfranchise military and oversea votes is clearly self-serving, power-hungry partisanship . . . . . . un-American . . . . . . . and absolutely . . . . . . . . . PATHETIC . . . . .

I think the two whiny ones, think that just because Election Day ended, that's it! Who ever is ahead by midnight is the winner. NO! Election Day is when the votes are cast. If you are going to a poling place, you have until 7pm to cast your vote. If you are voting by mail, or absentee, your ballot must be received by 7pm Election Day. The "COUNT" can last as long as it takes to count. The two whiny ones are afraid Florida might turn BLUE! OH NO! We can't let that happen. If the voters say so, we must abide by it. If the two whiny ones do win, then (phew!) we get to remain RED. EVERY VOTE COUNTS! PERIOD!

Of course you don’t say every LEGAL ballot. Classic Democrat whines for tricks and fraud. Nelson and Gillum tried to get non-citizens to count. Go to Venezuela

Why are we afraid to count every vote? If Rick Scott wins he wins if Nelson wins he wins. This debate doesn't make sense from either side. If a vote was cast by a Florida resident who was legally able to vote, count it. Whomever has the most votes at the end of the count wins. Republicans want them to stop now before they are all counted. Democrats want votes to count the State law prohibits. No!! All votes in on time get counted and let's move on. I am a Dem and of course I want my candidates to win, but only if the numbers and the voters say so. If not and we try to take it then we are no better than those countries we talk about. If either side trays to interfere. Let it play out first before making all of these unsubstantiated statements about fraud and stealing an election. We need a bipartisan review of all the votes count them and be done.

Republicans always limiting Voting and not wanting to count votes. Red Tide Rick and all the money he swindled from Florida and used to buy the seat may lose. For once GOP stop the whining

I voted absent, they gave us five weeks to get the ballot in on time. This is just a typical Democrat dirty trick.

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