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Judge: North Miami Beach runoff results not in question

Election officials in North Miami Beach can proceed in certifying the results of Tuesday’s runoff, following a ruling by Judge Darrin Gayles of the 11th Judicial Circuit Court on Wednesday.

Gayles has been overseeing a lawsuit filed against Seat 4 candidate Yvenoline "Yve" Dargenson by her opponent Councilwoman Beth Spiegel that questioned her residency.

Spiegel had alleged that Dargenson violated the city charter requirement that candidates must continuously reside in North Miami Beach for one year prior to the qualifying date.

On Monday, he had ordered the city’s canvassing board not to certify the official results until further order from the courts.

The next day, Spiegel had won the runoff election for the seat with 1,148 votes (62.5 percent), while Dargenson received 690 votes (37.5 percent).

In court on Wednesday, Dargenson’s attorney Frank Wolland presented the judge with a motion saying that the court announcing its decision on the eve of the election “skewed the results.”

“Voters who would have voted for Dargenson did not vote because their vote was meaningless, or would not be counted, as the court had already decided this issue,” he wrote.

He asked that the judge delay the certification and call for a special election.

The judge denied that request.

Wolland also mentioned that the residency ordinance was “unconstitutional,” but there was no indication on whether he would move forward with that item.

For now, Wolland and Joe Geller, an attorney representing Spiegel, will discuss Dargenson paying for some of the court fees associated with this case.

“The judicial system works, and the truth does matter,” Geller said after court. “This is a victory for all the citizens of South Florida.”

Final election results are expected to be certified Friday at 10 a.m.

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