The complaint does not spell out how a radio announcement allegedly playing on Haitian Creole radio is connected to the Julien-Watson race.
“When you received those absentee ballots at home, don’t let anyone take them!” an English translation of the Creole radio spot reads. “You must consult with someone you trust, or consult teacher Carline. She’ll help you understand what’s on the ballot in order to vote correctly.”
District 107, which covers a mostly urban section of North Miami-Dade, is home to a large Haitian population.
Watson and Julien, both freshmen Democrats, were drawn into the same district during this year’s redistricting process that pitted a handful of incumbents into the same districts because of redrawn legislative maps.
By winning the primary, Watson will likely win the seat in November because she has only write-in opponents. But the court challenge could block Watson’s route back to the Florida House.
Planas is also involved in challenging a close Democratic primary Senate race between Reps. Mack Bernard of West Palm Beach and Jeff Clemens of Lake Worth. That race was decided by only 17 votes, and potential absentee ballot issues have emerged there, too.
The Watson-Julien match-up was only one of three recounts ordered by the Florida Division of Elections following primaries.
Absentee voting has come under increased scrutiny in Miami-Dade, as police and prosecutors pursue a vote-fraud probe that has led to the arrest of boleteros, or ballot brokers, accused of collecting absentee ballots from voters and, in some cases, fraudulently manipulating the votes. Absentee ballots accounted for more than one-third of all the ballots cast in Miami-Dade.