Here's the law governing the SOE's failure to meet the deadline, with underscoring and text in bracketing added]. Florida Statutes, Section 102.112 provides:
102.112 Deadline for submission of county returns to the Department of State.—Id.
(1) The county canvassing board or a majority thereof shall file the county returns for the election of a federal or state officer with the Department of State immediately after certification of the election results. The returns must contain a certification by the canvassing board that the board has compared the number of persons who voted with the number of ballots counted and that the certification includes all valid votes cast in the election.
(2) Returns must be filed by 5 p.m. on the 7th day following a primary election and by noon on the 12th day following the general election [November 18, 2012]. However, the Department of State may correct typographical errors, including the transposition of numbers, in any returns submitted to the Department of State pursuant to s. 102.111(2).
(3) If the returns are not received by the department by the time specified, such returns shall be ignored and the results on file at that time shall be certified by the department.
(4) If the returns are not received by the department due to an emergency, as defined in s. 101.732, the Elections Canvassing Commission [in Tallahassee] shall determine the deadline by which the returns must be received.
The question to be decided, then, is whether there is an "emergency" within the meaning of Section 102.112(4), a decision to be made by the State Elections Canvassing Commission.