On the Editorial Page of today’s Fernandina News-Leader was this Letter-to-the-Editor by Carla Voisard, Chairperson of Democratic Executive Committee (emphasis & notes mine):
“The final straw
Well, I just got the numbers, and over 2,000 Democrats and No Party Affiliates have registered Republican in Nassau County [see note 1]. They will vote in the Republican primary. I guess this fall under the final straw.
Many were tired of efforts to disenfranchise their right to vote. When one party has someone run as either a write-in candidate [see note 2] (no one ever sees their name) or has a Republican reregister as a Libertarian (about 180 in the county) to keep the Democratic and nonaffiliated voters from voting, it becomes unacceptable. [see note 3]
This year they [Republicans?] went too far (the final straw). The [voter registration?] book closed last Monday for the primary. You are [registered?] for the primary what you were [registered?] that day. So to all who did this, I say, go vote, and vote the entire [Republicans?] ballot. Once your vote is cast, take the final stand and reregister as you were. The moment you turn in your ballot, fill out the paperwork to return to your prior status. You can do this at the Supervisor of Elections office or at the Democratic headquarters. You do not have to wait until after the primary. The day after the primary, the supervisor will flip the switch and you will be home. The point will have been made quite clear. Stop trying to rig elections and disenfranchising voters!
Carla Voisard Yulee
Voter registration, as of June 30th 2016:
COUNTY REPUBLICAN DEMOCRAT MINOR NONE TOTAL
Nassau as of 8/10/16: Republican:34,653, Democrat:13,427, Other:11,746, Total: 59,826
Note 1: Carla, your premise is that they have changed parties in order to have a say in races that Republicans have no Democratic opposition in the State/Local Primary and have a write-in candidate to keep that race from being open to all voters (Universal Primary Contest).
Isn’t it also possible that some are simply Bernie supporters who can’t bring themselves to vote for Hillary R. Clinton?
Note 2: For the uninitiated the write-in conspiracy is detailed below, both Republican & Democrats use it. and the courts have upheld it:
Floridians in 1998 approved a constitutional amendment opening primaries to all voters if all of the candidates are from a single political party. Two years later, then-Secretary of State Katherine Harris issued an opinion that said the existence of a write-in candidate was enough to cause a primary to be closed. It has been used as a campaign tool ever since.
Critics of this practice have sued various times to open primaries when the presence of a write-in caused them to be closed but have lost repeatedly, most recently in a February Florida Supreme Court ruling.
Last week, three Republicans filed paperwork to become candidates for state attorney in the 4th Judicial Circuit of Florida that includes Duval, Clay and Nassau counties. My colleague Larry Hannan reported that incumbent Angela Corey’s campaign manager also helped a fourth person qualify as a write-in, therefore limiting the primary to just Republican voters.
As a result, Hannan wrote, “about 440,000 registered voters in Duval, Nassau and Clay counties will not be allowed to cast ballots in the Aug. 30 primary because they are Democrats or have no party affiliation.” Write-in candidates also closed the primaries in the public defender’s race, where Matt Shirk is trying to keep his job.
Note 3: Florida is a closed primary state, you only vote the ticket of your registration, Universal Primary Contest and Nonpartisan, so if you register:
- No Party Affiliation, you can only vote this ballot,
- Libertarian, you can only vote this ballot,
- Republican, you can only vote this ballot,
- And if Democratic, you can only vote this ballot.
A write-in qualifies for the primary election, but their name won’t be on the ballot, they will either have to file paperwork at different times leading up to the primary election or pay fines for failure to file. But the fines are based on the amount of money raised, and most don’t raise any money. In state wide contest here are 35 write-in this election cycle.
The write-in loophole is used by both parties, in Palm Beach County, which has a 120,000 Democratic majority, the House race between Democrats Skidmore & Slosberg was closed by Mary Kathryn Johnson, of St. Petersburg, a 150 miles from the district.
This situation was created by a 1998 constitutional amendment passed by voters.
On the upcoming Republican primary ballot we have the following races, in Nassau County, which are no Universal Primary Contest because of either a Libertarian Party of Florida, Write In, or No Party Affiliation:
- State Attorney – Daniel K. Leigh WRI w/no financial activity
- Public Defender – Roland Falcon WRI w/no financial activity
- State Representative (Dist 11) – Walter E. Haynes WRI w/no financial activity
- Tax Collector – John L. McDowell WRI w/no financial activity
- Superintendent of Schools – Cheryl R. James LPF w/financial activity
- County Commissioner (Dist 5) – Don Tanner WRI w/no financial activity
Voter Registration by month from Florida Division of Elections