THE JEENYUS CORNER
By Jane Musgrave
(Palm Beach Post) - WEST PALM BEACH — Well-known Palm Beach County abortion rights activist Mona Reis on Friday will get to ask a judge to let her vote in person after the election canvassing board last week rejected her absentee ballot because the three officials didn’t believe the signature on it was hers.
The emergency hearing, that could impact dozens of voters who had their absentee ballots thrown out because of bad signatures, was scheduled shortly after Reis on Wednesday sued Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher in Palm Beach County Circuit Court.
“The job of the supervisor of the elections, the job of the canvassing board is to preserve and protect the right to vote, not to suppress the right to vote,” said her attorney, Louis Silber.
Bucher and the Florida Secretary of State have said that once someone casts an absentee ballot they can’t vote in person even if the ballot is rejected. Other attorneys who have looked at state law agree that Florida, unlike other states, is very restrictive when it comes to signature issues.
In the lawsuit, filed by Silber and attorney Gerald Richman, Reis argues that the interpretation of the law doesn’t make sense. Because her ballot was thrown out, she hasn’t voted. Therefore, she should be allowed to vote on election day.
He said he can understand that signatures are checked to protect the election system from fraud. “But this isn’t a dead person voting,” he said. Reis, 61, the founder and CEO of Presidential Women’s Center in West Palm Beach, has voted in every election since 1972.
Silber acknowledged that a favorable ruling from Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley could create headaches for Bucher, who is already dealing with a host of issues, including being forced to duplicate roughly 27,000 absentee ballots because a printer error makes it impossible for tabulating machines to read them. She would be forced to identify others whose ballots were tossed out because the canvassing board determined that their signatures didn’t match the one on file at the elections office.
But, Silber said, the right to vote is sacred and shouldn’t be taken away haphazardly. “I don’t see the harm in letting her vote,” he said.
- Broward Allows Voters To Cast Absentee Ballots Tuesday (miami.cbslocal.com)
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