Saturday, February 26, 2022

Four of nine Broward commissioners elected only by Democrats. (Sun Sentinel, September 21, 2016)

Florida voters' thought we were amending our Constitution in 1998 was for universal primaries, where all would vote if all candidates for an office are of one party. 

Great idea.

Empowered voters. 

 Florida voters supported it,

The joke is on all of us, dear readers.

My friends, we've been subjected to a game of three-card monte.

Turns out that controversial Florida Secretary Katherine Harris (R-Bushland), ruled that a single phony write-in candidate is enough to close an election. 

This makes for corrupt one-party regimes. 

Democrats in South Florida and Republicans in North Florida, an evil result endorsed by both parties, their lawyers and our Florida courts. No effort to correct this outrage. Florida Republicans and Democrats too often show contempt for our democratic republic.  

Member of an all-white corporate law firm, MARK HERRON, Tallahassee power lawyer (he runs some 136 PACs) successfully argued for a loophole in our Constitution big enough to drive 

As my late sagacious, savvy mentor, United States Department of Labor Chief Administrative Judge Nahum Litt (1979-1995) would often ask me, "Cui bono?"  (Who benefits?)

Developers, corporations, polluters?

You tell me.

Not you. Not me. Not working people who expect a day's work for a day's pay from politicians and other government employees.  

Other nations have more than two major political party.

In Florida, it's a regional thing, with Democrats in control of South Florida, and Republicans in control of North Florida.  Bipartisanship has little to with it.

In 2016, phantom write-in candidates disengrachinsed some one million voters.

We need to learn from history and the nature, structure and performance of our government, starting right here, right now, with a County Charter Review Committee.

Read the excellent September 21, 2016 article from  South Florida Sun Sentinel, noting that four of nine Broward County Commissioners were elected only by Democrats.  

Here in St. Johns County, it's five County Commissioners, elected only by Republicans.

From South Florida Sun Sentinel:

Four of nine Broward commissioners elected only by Democrats



SEP 21, 2016 AT 7:41 AM

Judy Stern, a supporter of Nan Rich's, notarized candidacy paperwork for a write-in who prevented non-Democrats from participating in her race.

Judy Stern, a supporter of Nan Rich's, notarized candidacy paperwork for a write-in who prevented non-Democrats from participating in her race. (Brittany Wallman)

Dale Holness's re-election this week brings to four the number of county commissioners who were elected by Democrats only, on the nine-member board.

In each case, a write-in candidate shut non-Democrats out of participating in the primary election, and then the write-in candidate withdrew.

Of the current County Commission, only one was elected in a contest that gave voters the traditional Republican vs. Democrat choice.

When the commission is newly formed after the November elections, only four members will have been elected with full voter participation, four by Democrats only, and one without requiring election at all, because no one opposed him.

Democrats make up slightly more than half the active registered voters in Broward, according to the latest figures. That means Republicans and independents (officially "no party affiliation") are about half, as well. But they've had little to no chance to choose Broward County commissioners.

In part, it's because Republicans don't usually field a candidate in the county races. Democrats dominate Broward politics. But it's also because of write-in candidates.

Write-in candidates — able to create closed partisan primaries —are often used to manipulate elections.

As we reported previously, political operative Andrew Ladanowski admitted he nudged a write-in candidate into the elections supervisor race, so Republicans couldn't vote for Brenda Snipes, a Democrat who had been appointed by a Republican governor. (Ladanowski's favored candidate, David Brown, lost anyway.)

A write-in candidate has almost zero chance of winning, but for some voters who don't want to support the establishment candidate, it's their only alternative. So some voters actually do vote for them. In County Commissioner Barbara Sharief's 2014 race, for example, 1,615 people voted for the write-in candidate who opposed her, according to the county elections office.

What's been happening lately in Broward is the write-in drops out after the primary, leaving non-Democrats without any opportunity to vote at all.

Here's the rundown on the nine member County Commission and how they got into office:

•Dale Holness: Won Democratic primary against Sen. Chris Smith on Aug. 30, then all three write-in candidates withdrew. Won on only Democrat votes.

•Nan Rich, commissioner-elect: Won Democratic primary on Aug. 30 against Jim Norton, a former Republican who might have benefited from Republican participation in the primary. Write-in candidate withdrew shortly thereafter. Won on only Democrat votes. Rich supporter Judy Stern, a political consultant and lobbyist, was the notary for the write-in candidate, records show. In November, will take the seat currently held by Marty Kiar.

•Marty Kiar: Was elected without opposition in 2012. He's leaving to become property appraiser, a seat he also won without facing a challenger.

•Mark Bogen: Won a five-way Democratic primary on Dec. 4, 2014, an election that had to be postponed twice because of litigation over a write-in candidate in his race. The candidate said he was legitimate and not in the race as a political ploy, though he was friendly with Commissioner Holness's daughter, and Holness supported one of Bogen's opponents. The write-in withdrew after the primary and Bogen was elected, on only Democrat votes. The lawsuit, filed by Republican attorney Bill Scherer, eventually was decided by the Florida Supreme Court, which reaffirmed that write-in candidates constitute opposition and can close a primary on a partisan basis.

•Quentin "Beam" Furr: Won Democratic primary against former state Rep. Joe Gibbons in 2014. The write-in candidate then departed the race, and Furr was elected on only Democrat votes.

•Tim Ryan: Was elected this year with no opposition. Previously won a three-way Democratic primary against Charlotte Rodstrom and Ken Keechl. Only Democrats could vote in that primary. In the November 2012 primary, his write-in opponent got 1,564 votes, or about 2 percent.

[Popular on] Two children and their father drown in backyard pool at Hollywood home »

•Barbara Sharief: Beat Alexandra Davis in the 2014 Democrat-only primary. Then faced a write-in who got 3.3 percent of the vote in November.

•Lois Wexler: Won her final county re-election in 2012 without opposition. She's nearing the end of her last term due to term limits.

•Chip LaMarca: Elected in a fierce 2014 general election face-off with Democrat Ken Keechl. LaMarca is the only Republican on the County Commission, and also the only commissioner elected in a Republican vs. Democrat race.

(Former Commissioner Stacy Ritter was elected in a Democrat vs. Republican race in 2012, but she recently left to become tourism president. Her seat is open.)

For the November elections, there are two traditional partisan races.

To fill Wexler's seat, former state Sen. Steve Geller, a Democrat, faces former county emergency operations chief Chuck Lanza, a Republican. To fill Ritter's open seat, Parkland Mayor and Democrat Michael Udine faces Republican Randal Cutter and write-in candidate Raymark Alberto Clement.

The exclusion of independent and Republican voters means candidates don't have to moderate their views to the whole political spectrum.

The way Florida elections law works, a primary is open to voters of all political stripe if all the candidates are from the same party. But if a write-in candidate files, that person is considered opposition in the general election, regardless of his or her party or chances of winning. The person pays no filing fee. or 954-356-4541. On Twitter @BrittanyWallman and @BrowardPolitics.

No comments: