TAMPA — Your vote for James Grant or Miriam Steinberg for state House District 64 won't count — at least not on Tuesday.
Although both candidates will be listed on the ballot for voters in Carrollwood, Citrus Park, Oldsmar and Safety Harbor, a notice that precedes the names says, by court order, the votes will not be tallied.
But the next sentence says: "This order is currently under appellate review and the information contained in this notice is subject to change pending the outcome of the appeal."
So if you vote for one of the two Republicans, could it later count?
Grant has decided to proceed with that possibility. His mother, Beverley Grant, was out for early voting Thursday at the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library on Bearss Avenue, asking people to vote for her son.
"We are telling people Tuesday's vote may well count," Grant said. "We're preparing for every situation."
Even though the race will not be tabulated electronically, "We will still have the paper ballots, as an extra measure," said Gerri Kramer, director of communications for the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Office.
In one of the state's messier contests, Grant and Steinberg qualified for the election along with write-in candidate Donald John Matthews.
After a judge disqualified Matthews last month because he didn't live in District 64, it was too late to resume the primary election without him because early voting had already started.
So Leon County Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey canceled the primary and punted the election to November.
Meanwhile, another Leon County circuit judge decided differently on a similar case with a write-in candidate in Broward County. Judge George Reynolds ruled that a write-in candidate was required to live in the district only upon election.
Both cases were brought by attorney Michael Steinberg against the write-in candidates. He is the husband of Miriam Steinberg and also ran against Grant four years ago.
Now the conflicting rulings on residency may be challenged to the Florida Supreme Court.
Ultimately, Matthews may be let back into the November election or a special election may be required to resolve the issue.
Contact Elisabeth Parker at [email protected] or (813) 226-3431.