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Federal judge holds off on ruling in Miami-Dade state attorney's race write-in lawsuit

A federal judge said he will decide Friday whether to force Miami-Dade County to open up the State Attorney’s Aug. 14 primary election to more than 700,000 Republican and independent voters.

U.S. Judge William Zloch heard arguments Thursday, but stopped short of deciding immediately.

Two voters are suing Miami-Dade’s election supervisor, saying that a “loophole” in the state’s election law that allows write-in candidates to close primary elections is disenfranchising thousands of 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.

Neither will appear on the ballot, and neither has actively campaigned.

But under a controversial and much-criticized secretary of state advisory opinion, their entry served to close the primary race to just 525,890 Miami-Dade Democratic voters, making Aug. 14 the defacto winner-take-all race.

More from David Ovalle here.