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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida's 29 electors ready to vote for Trump, ending pressure and lawsuits

Florida presidential elector Nick DiCeglie tweeted a photo of his Indian Rocks Beach mailbox stuffed with one day's mail.


Florida presidential elector Nick DiCeglie tweeted a photo of his Indian Rocks Beach mailbox stuffed with one day's mail.



Florida's 29 presidential electors will convene Monday in Tallahassee, where all are expected to cast written ballots for Donald Trump to become the 45th president of the United States.

Under state election law, the Florida electors must vote for the candidate chosen by their party. They were selected by Gov. Rick Scott based on a Republican Party of Florida recommendation and include GOP officeholders, party donors and grass-roots activists. Among them are Attorney General Pam Bondi; Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart; Tallahassee lobbyist and Trump fund-raiser Brian Ballard; Susie Wiles of Ponte Vedra Beach, a public affairs specialist in Ballard's firm and political consultant who was placed in charge of Trump's Florida effort in September; Robert Watkins, co-owner of a Tampa accounting firm that provides bookkeeping services for many Republican politicians; Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, chairman of the state GOP; and Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

The 29 Florida members of the Electoral College will meet in the Senate chamber in the state Capitol at 2 p.m. Monday under stepped-up security as their counterparts in the other 49 states gather to confirm Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton.

For weeks, electors in Florida and across the country have been bombarded with emails and letters, and some say they have been the targets of threatening messages. Elector Nick DiCeglie, chairman of the Pinellas County Republican Party, tweeted a picture of his Indian Rocks Beach mailbox (above), stuffed with letters from people urging him not to vote for Trump.

A state judge in Tallahassee recently dismissed a lawsuit filed by three Florida voters who sought to delay Monday's event with allegations of widespread voter fraud in the Nov. 8 election, but offered little evidence to support their claims. The lawsuit included a claim by Chelsey Marie Smith, who "observed and reported a ballot stuffing operation being operated at the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office. She reports that stacks of ballots were being filled in by multiple individuals in a locked room."

The three voters were represented by the Orlando law firm of Clint Curtis, a former computer programmer who first gained notoriety following the 2000 presidential recount in Florida when he claimed he was ordered to write a computer program to manipulate the outcome of the 2000 election in South Florida.

After Circuit Judge John Cooper dismissed the lawsuit, the three voters appealed to the First District Court of Appeal, which quickly ordered the plaintiffs to refile some of their original motions with Cooper because of procedural oversights.

[Last modified: Monday, December 19, 2016 1:17pm]


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