Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Write-In Contenders 'Spoilers' for Voters; Officials Are Upset That Non-Republicans Were Left out Due to Election Write-Ins

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Write-In Contenders 'Spoilers' for Voters; Officials Are Upset That Non-Republicans Were Left out Due to Election Write-Ins

Article excerpt

Byline: SHAKAYA ANDRES

Write-in candidates too often disenfranchise voters by cutting them out of key elections, as Democrats and others were recently prevented from voting in the state Senate District 8 primary, the St. Johns County elections supervisor told the Ponte Vedra Beaches Coalition.

The write-ins also cost taxpayers by creating the need for expensive but anti-climactic special elections, like this week's, Penny Halyburton said.

She and coalition members agreed the Legislature needs to correct the system for letting write-in candidates into races.

"It lies in the hands of our legislators," Halyburton said. "The truth is the truth. They are the ones approving these laws."

This week's Senate election will end up costing St. Johns County taxpayers about $150,000, she said.

Meanwhile, by entering their names in the Sept. 15 primary, the write-in candidates in effect closed the race to all registered voters except Republicans. It otherwise could have been an open contest, officials said.

St. Johns County had 77,717 registered voters eligible to vote in the race for District 8, which also includes coastal portions of Nassau, Duval, Flagler and Volusia counties. In St. Johns, 37,399 voters were left out of the primary.

Write-in candidates "only have to show up and say they want to run," coalition Vice President Walter Hermann said at the Sept. 28 meeting. "This could lead to political mischief."

The candidates are required only to file paperwork with elections officials and are not required to pay qualifying fees, officials said. Their names are not printed on the ballots. Voters can write in their candidate's name beneath a line under the frontrunners' names.

A week before this week's election, the three write-in candidates had not raised or spent any money and only one lived in District 8, according to the Florida Division of Elections.

The candidates were John Rosso of Jacksonville, with no party affiliation, who lives in District 8. The other two, Democrat Alden Bryanton of Jacksonville, lives in District 5, and Republican Robert Ratton resides in District 1 in Jacksonville. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.