A federal judge in Florida handling election-related lawsuits blasted the state Thursday for botching another vote.
“We have been the laughing stock of the world, election after election, and we chose not to fix this,” U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said in court, where he is at the center of the legal battle over the election recount.
He later refused to extend a looming 3 p.m. deadline to finish the recount, rejecting a request from incumbent Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson to give counties more time.
Judge Walker slammed state legislators and Palm Beach County officials for not being ready for a recount, with election officials expected to miss a Thursday deadline for completion.
Florida has had plenty of time to fix its elections since the mess of the 2000 presidential showdown between George Bush and Al Gore, said Judge Walker.
Races for Senate and governor are potentially on the line in the recount.
Judge Walker has provided some voters more time to get their ballots counted. Earlier, Judge Walker extended the deadline until 5 p.m. Saturday for voters to show a valid identification and fix their ballots not counted due to mismatched signatures.
The ruling sided with incumbent Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson, who is trying to overcome a roughly 12,500-vote deficit.
The Republicans candidate, Gov. Rick Scott, watched his lead wither from about 60,000 votes on election night to those 12,500 votes.
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