Lawsuit: Mail-in ballots postmarked by election day should count; no postage necessary

The state of Florida is being sued over its vote-by-mail rules, as the fight for one of the nation's biggest battleground states in November's presidential election takes shape.

Florida has often had a third of its votes cast by mail but that number went up to half in March's primary election.

In a new lawsuit, Priorities USA, a Super PAC aligned with the Democratic Party, notes that the ballots of 17,000 Floridians were rejected in 2018 because they arrived after election day. 

"We are starting to see how unnecessary restrictions in voting disenfranchise Americans," said Priorities USA voting rights director Aneesa McMillan.

Their suit demands two things:

- Ballots postmarked before election day, but received up to 10 days after the election, still count. 

- Ballots should be exempt from postage costs.

McMillan says these are just two of the restrictions that put up barriers between voters and the ballot box.

Courts are already weighing suits over voting rights for ex-felons. Suits may soon be filed to determine which party appears at the top of the ballot.

MORE: Florida's long-term care facilities, hardest hit by COVID-19, to get mobile lab and more PPE

In a tight race, the 17,000 votes cast aside in 2018 could make a big difference in 2020.

In 2018, now-Senator Rick Scott beat incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson in the race for Senate by just over 10,000 votes. 

The margin in the competition for the White House could be even thinner between President Trump and former Vice President Biden.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know


Map of known COVID-19 cases:

MOBILE APP USERS: Click here for map