And yet, to this day, I havent been able to vote in a primary because of those pesky write-ins.
You can thank Katherine Harris, not known for a brilliant legal mind, for issuing an opinion in 2000 when she was secretary of state, deciding that write-ins were enough to close the primary. Since then, theres been an explosion of write-ins who act as spoilers for voters and, of course, never win. Theyre usually planted by one partys candidate or another.
From 1978, in the 11 election cycles immediately prior to the Katherine Harris opinion, the brief prepared by attorneys for the law firms of Colson Hicks Eidson and Ross & Girten points out, only 30 general elections included write-in candidates statewide. In the six subsequent election cycles from 2000 through 2010, 131 general elections included write-in candidates statewide an increase of 337 percent in just over half as many cycles.
Of course, Miami-Dade, ever the funny-business leader in the state, has seen the number of write-ins jump during that same period by 1,200 percent. State House and Senate seats seem to be of particular interest to the phantom write-ins and their handlers.
The manipulators have had their fun. Its past time for a federal judge to give us clarity or, heaven forbid, lock out 57 percent of county voters, most of them Hispanic. And if the ruling gets delayed there may be legal wiggle room for the county mayor, who hires the elections supervisor, to open up the election until the federal court rules.
State attorney write-in phantoms Michele Samaroo and T. Omar Malone, wherever you are, thanks for starting this mess. Maybe this time the disenfranchisement will end at last.