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Judge: Sue Fla. secretary of state over state attorney's race write-in question

Florida’s Secretary of State should be a party to a lawsuit seeking to open the Aug. 14 Miami-Dade state attorney election to Republican and independent voters, a federal judge ruled Friday.

U.S. Judge William Zloch dismissed the lawsuit brought by two voters against Miami-Dade County, but asked that it be re-filed to include the secretary of state, and the state’s election canvassing board.

The suit alleged that a “loophole” in the state’s election law that allows “write-in” candidates to close primary elections is disenfranchising over 700,000 Republican and independent voters.

Incumbent Katherine Fernández Rundle is facing fellow Democrat Rod Vereen on Aug. 14, a race that would have been open to all voters because no Republicans or independents filed to run. But just before the April filing deadline, two write-in candidates, Michele Samaroo and T. Omar Malone, filed to run.

Their presence closed the August primary to just 525,890 Democratic voters, making that date the defacto winner-take-all election. Neither Samaroo or Malone will appear on the November general election ballot, and no write-in candidate has ever come close to winning an election in Florida.

Fernández Rundle has accused Vereen’s campaign of running sham write-in candidates to deprive her of support from across party lines. Vereen denies that, and criticizes the incumbent for urging Republicans and independents to switch parties to vote for her.

More from David Ovalle here.

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