Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bad Election Laws Bites Republicans

Judge Janet E. Ferris has handed down her ruling and there will be no signs for Joe Negron. Ferris ruled that the Florida Legislature has not given the legal authority to place signs for Negron. Ferris takes the Legislature to task.


The Legislature could have adopted various options; it could have required that the name of the new nominee be included on the ballot, or could have mandated the posting of a notice informing electors of the replacement, as Kentucky Legislature did.


Why didn't the Florida Legislature leave that option open? Elections are run for shit in Florida. Republicans are on the short end this time. Serious reform is needed. This isn't a partisan issue. Raise your hand if you would go on national television and say, "Florida is the best in the nation at running elections and have never made a mistake."

Ferris sited Florida law stating "the ballot shall not be changed, and the former's nominee's name appear on the ballot." Her interpretation was no change should be made and there was nothing in Florida law allowing her to do so. The short answer is she's obeying a stupid law.

Ferris wrote that the state's interpretation of the meaning of "the manner of voting" was taking "into uncharted territory." Ferris pointed out that there is no law stating that County Election Supervisors can provide guidance in a particular race. Supervisors are to help voters with problems they have filling out forms and using the voting machines.

Ferris had to explain the meaning of nothing to Secretary of State Sue Cobb.


One other issue bears mention. At the hearing, council for the Supervisors indicated that they, with one exception, had read Section 101.62(6) to preclude mailing the proposed notices with absentee ballots, due to the section's direction that "nothing other than the materials necessary to vote absentee shall be mailed or delivered with any absentee ballot." Although the Supervisors felt that this law prevented them from including the notices with the absentee ballots, the Secretary of State disagreed with their interpretation. Although the Secretary's position is consistent, it disregards the Legislature's use of the word "nothing."


Cobb has a right to disagree with the law. She does not have the right to disregard it. This is pretty clear that the Florida Republican leadership was playing fast and loose with election laws. The irony is they are the victims of theire own dirty dealing.

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