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PINELLAS DEMOCRAT IS ON BALLOT, IN NAME ONLY

The would-be rival to a Republican incumbent dropped out in May.

Ed Jany made big news more than four months ago when he announced his plans to drop out of a Pinellas congressional race, leaving Democrats without a candidate in a competitive House seat.

Though the news came in May, Jany's name will still appear on ballots. Votes cast for him will not count. Some are complaining it will lead to confusion for voters.

Karena Morrison, who chairs the Pinellas Libertarian Party, said she's worried that people will vote for Jany without noticing that "he's not a viable candidate. And that is basically a wasted vote."

The people listed on the ballot in the District 13 congressional race will be David Jolly, the Republican incumbent; Lucas Overby, a Libertarian; and Jany, who will be listed as a no-party affiliation candidate even though he was running with backing of the Democratic Party. A write-in candidate also is running.

Why couldn't the ballots have been updated?

Florida Department of State spokeswoman Brittany Lesser said state elections personnel were aware that Jany dropped out, but never received a written notice from him.

They can't remove a qualified candidate from the ballot unless they receive that, she said. "We reached out to him several times by phone and email."

She said the office received that notice last week.

The Pinellas supervisor of elections got the official notice Sept. 22, too late to change the ballot. However, the elections office has included notes explaining the situation in all the mail ballots sent since then.

The withdrawal letter that Jany wrote to the state Division of Elections says it was written May 13 - but a date stamp indicates it was not received until Sept. 17.

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