Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Complaint Filed in 13th Judicial Court for Recount in 3 Hillsborough County Races

A Complaint was filed yesterday in the 13th Judicial Court regarding several races in Hillsborough County.

The Plaintiffs are Sally Harris, Candidate for School Board District 7, Christine Quinn, Candidate for Congress District 14 and Scott Levinson, Candidate for County Commission District 1. The Defendant is the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections (SOE) Craig Latimer.

The results of those and all Hillsborough County races can be found at the Supervisor of Elections website.

The Complaint requests the SOE to:

  • Sequester all ballots cast in the recent election, the envelopes in which the mail in ballots were contained and such ballots as were contained in the provided envelopes
  • Order a recount of the ballots with respect to the Plaintiffs
  • Designate class and category of observers for the requested recount, authentication and final tabulation
The Complaint also focuses on mail in ballots requesting refrain from counting mail in ballots received after 7pm on November 3, 2020 and request the mail in ballots be scrutinized for accuracy.
Concerns with mail in ballots is genuine for many reasons. This October 2020 Tampa Bay Times article raised concerns about mail ballot errors - mismatched signatures, lack of required signatures and how there is no consistency for how counties reject ballots. The Times reported
While ballots cast in person are rarely invalidated, [University of Florida election expert Dan] Smith’s studies have found that about 1 percent of all mail ballots were rejected statewide in the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections.
Due to the pandemic there was a very large number of mail ballots requested and cast. In Hillsborough County, almost half of all ballots cast, 47%, were mail in ballots, with 38% cast during early voting and only 15% cast on election day. 

We do not know how many or what percentage of mail ballots were rejected in the November election but we should be able to get such information. It would be good to also get mail ballot numbers and rejection numbers for 2016 and 2012 Presidential elections for comparison.

We will continue to follow this case as it proceeds.

The Complaint Case Number is 20-CA-009036 found at the Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court or viewed below. The case has been assigned to Judge Caroline Tesche Arkin.



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