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.
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