Lawsuit filed to challenge use of write-ins to close Florida primary elections [View all]
If the winner of a Democratic or Republican primary in Florida won’t face opposition in the general election, then that primary is open to all voters without regard to party registration under a state constitutional amendment passed overwhelmingly in 1998.
The idea is that everyone should get a chance to vote for — or against — the eventual winner.
But politicians have been getting around the so-called universal primary requirement by finding someone — often a supporter, friend or relative — to run as a write-in candidate. Write-in candidates have closed what would have otherwise been five open primaries in Palm Beach and Martin counties this year — the Republican House District 82 and Democratic Senate District 27 and tax collector’s races in Palm Beach, and the Republican sheriff’s and county commission District 1 races in Martin.
That trick is now being challenged in court by critics who say that it effectively disenfranchises independents and members of other parties. They hope a judge will rule before the Aug. 14