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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Northeast Florida voters ask Supreme Court to stop write-in loophole (and cite Times/Herald)



A group of voters in Northeast Florida is pleading with the Florida Supreme Court to end what they call a "scheme to disenfranchise" hundreds of thousands of voters.

In the Fourth Judicial Circuit, a man named Daniel Leigh filed as a write-in candidate for state attorney, which had the effect of blocking Democrats and independent voters from voting in the primary election for the seat. All the other candidates are Republicans, including the incumbent Angela Corey and two others, Melissa Nelson and Wes White.

To make their case, the group's lawyers offered the justices two recent news stories, one by George Bennett at the Palm Beach Post and the other by the Times/Herald's Steve Bousquet and Michael Auslen.

"The ramifications extend to elections far beyond the state attorney race at issue here," they write. "The Tampa Bay Times has reported that at least thirty-five write-in candidates across the state have recently filed to exploit the loophole that currently exists."

At least 1.6 million voters stand to be disenfranchised this year by the rule that allows write-in candidates to close primaries.

By the time the justices can act, however, it will be too late to open the primary. Mail ballots have already been sent out for the Aug. 30 election, and many already have voted.

That's among the concerns expressed in Thursday's filing: That because this specific case is running out of time, the court may not be able to intervene. By and large, though, state courts regard write-ins as legitimate candidates.

[Last modified: Friday, August 5, 2016 5:18pm]


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