Update: GOP Lawyer To Sue Over Phony Write-Ins





Super lawyer and Republican fund raiser Bill Scherer will file suit this week to disqualify two write-in candidates who don’t live in their district.

“I’ve got four plaintiffs who want a fair election,” Scherer said.

If Scherer wins the suit, the immediate effect would be to open August primaries for a North Broward Florida House and a Broward County Commission races to Republican and independent voters.

Scherer is rushing the suit.

“I want to make sure their is enough time to mail the absentee (August primary) ballots to Republicans and independents, too,” he said.

The use of write-ins by political consultants to close primaries “is ridiculous,” the lawyer said.  He added it was a loophole which Broward Democratic candidates use to “disenfranchise 40 percent of the voters (who are Republicans and independents) by using shills….I find it humorous that all these supposedly smart political consultants didn’t read the law, which requires write-ins to live in the district at time of filing…”

“They use it to disenfranchise Republicans in Broward County, but in other areas they use it to disenfranchise Democrats. I always thought this law was like  what Mr. Bumble described:  ‘The law is an ass – a idiot,'” Scherer said, quoting Charles Dickens in “Oliver Twist”.

Scherer tried to overturn the election law which allowed a write-in to close the primary in the past, but lost in Broward Circuit Court and never appealed. This time the write-ins didn’t follow the law because they must live in the proper district.

Browardbeat.com and TheDailyBroward.com uncovered this month that write ins Tyron Francois in County Commission District 2 and Ronald Bray in state House District 96 do not live in the right districts.

Their entry into the races closed the August primaries to only Democratic voters.


13 Responses to “Update: GOP Lawyer To Sue Over Phony Write-Ins”

  1. city Activist Robert Walsh says:

    The ‘grand wizard of Oz ” himself Att.Bill Scherer. Go get them ‘Grand wizard”. Also word has it that you are putting alot of heat on the State Att.off. to charge Dino Trantalis(Dean). Well, we are waiting…..

  2. Ana Gomez-Mallada says:

    Talk about vote suppression…

  3. Voters Win says:

    Not just Broward with candidate shenanigans


  4. Kevin Hill says:

    FWIW, this practice of using write-ins to close a campaign goes back to the initial elections after the state constitution was amended in 1998 to allow “universal primaries” if all eye qualified, named candidates were from a single political party.

    You can thank Katherine Harris who, when she was SoS, issued a written opinion that the presence of a write-in (who, BTW does not have to pay one cent in qualifying fees) effecitvely closes the primary. Both parties do it.

    To my knowledge, this opinion has never been litigated in an appeals court, so it is entirely possible state courts could deal with this strategy of write-ins in the future. I might be wrong about this having never been litigated… Perhaps an election law attorney could correct me on this.

    BTW, this strategy was invented in (of course) Miami Dade County in the 2000 election cycle.


  5. Dan Lewis says:

    Kevin Hill is historically precisely correct.

    However, it is a little different in Broward this time.

    The supervisor of elections takes the position that their function is purely ministerial in qualifying candidates. That is not true.
    As has been reported in the media, the two write in candidates listed their residence outside the districts for which they wished to qualify.

    If true, the two write in candidates filed qualifying papers and could not qualify pursuant to state statute which provides that candidates must reside in the district at time of qualifying. While the supervisor of elections is not empowered to investigate or determine the truth of candidate submissions, they must take the documents at face value, assume the information provided is true and qualify the candidates pursuant to state law. In this case, the supervisor should have not qualified either candidate because the candidates did not live in the district.

    To accept the supervisor’s position as merely ministerial would mean a 13 year old could come into the supervisor’s office, tell the truth about their age and qualify to run for office. It is an absurd position.

    The supervisor of elections has a duty to perform and if the qualifying documents facially show that the two write-in candidates do not live in the district for which they seek to qualify, then the supervisor should not have accepted their qualifying papers. The supervisor’s failure should not require Bill Scherer or anyone else to file a lawsuit just to get the supervisor to follow the law. If a lawsuit is filed, and is successful – then the supervisor should be responsible for all the fees and costs, personally.

  6. What is SOE supervising says:


    I agree with your point regarding SOE in regards to a 13yr old filing to run. Below is another example of the folly of their ways.

    Currently there is an NPA, Jason Steele, who filed in the Broward County Commission District 4 race. It is my understanding from Broward SOE that Mr. Steele filed all of his paperwork and check to qualify at 11:24 am on June 20th.

    On the Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository for Candidates Form, it states;

    “NOTE: This form must be on file with the qualifying officer BEFORE (emph added) opening the campaign account.”

    Even in its minimalist, ministerial capacity, Broward SOE should have known that someone who is filing their check and this Designation Form at the same time is not complying with the law and should have not been permitted to qualify as a candidate.

    In what also appears that by filing the Designation Form and check at the same time, he further violated election laws by raising and/or loaning himself the money used for his filing fee before he was a candidate.

  7. Let's Get it Right says:

    @Kevin Hill
    you are correct
    @Dan Lewis
    You are correct
    @What is SOE supervising
    You are correct

    The FlaSta http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0099/0099.html
    spells out the procedural steps and sequencing for filing, opening campaign account, etc.
    The laws were violated if not followed.
    The two lied on their affidavits. They did not know the law for write-in and whoever put them up to this did not know the law.

    Here is Legal Counsel in Tallythat I have email communicated with since this mess started in last few days
    And Brenda Snipes, IMHO, is not doing her job

    Gary J. Holland
    Assistant Director, Division of Elections
    Florida Department of State
    R.A. Gray Building, 500 S. Bronough Street
    Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250
    Phone: 850-245-6200
    Fax: 850-245-6217

  8. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Snipes has a Ph.D. and yet her office can’t even boundary-check candidate addresses or figure out whether or not the campaign account was opened before the campaign treasurer was appointed?!?

    Send Lori Parrish over to SoE please!!
    Everyone who pays for homeowner’s insurance should immediately read this article:


    Another costly homeowners insurance mistake for Florida
    By John Romano -Tampa Bay Times – July 25, 2014

    A moment of silence, please. Another property insurance company in Florida has gone belly-up. You need not weep or offer feigned condolences, but you may want to pay attention. Because, one way or another, this will likely have an impact on your wallet. You see, the company in question, Sunshine State Insurance, has left about $36 million in unpaid claims and refunds in its wake, according to a story in Sarasota’s Herald-Tribune. That means the state will have to dip into its insurance reserves, and it probably means your insurance bill will eventually be dinged with new assessments to cover that loss.

    Sound bad? It gets much, much worse. This is no anomaly. No freakish confluence of unforeseen events. This actually happens quite frequently in Florida, and it is costing residents a ton of money. Sunshine State was one of those smaller companies the state once recommended as an alternative for customers with Citizens policies. If you’re counting, this makes at least seven of those so-called Citizens takeout companies that are no longer in business. If you want to be picky and count the companies that merged before biting the dust, the number of failures is up to nine. …

    Shifting policies away from Citizens and into the hands of unproven private insurers did not solve long-term liabilities and actually created short-term losses. And that doesn’t even take into account the incentive money the state offered private insurers. Or, to put it another way, those private insurers went out of business during a time when the state was handing them money, steering customers their way and when there were zero hurricanes in Florida. “There is no reason a company with sufficient capital should have failed in the last eight years,” said Gavin Magor, a senior analyst at Weiss Ratings, a Florida-based watchdog organization. “We haven’t had any hurricanes, and all of these companies are gone. Failed. This doesn’t cost the state money; it costs residents money.”

    And, yes, it gets even worse.

    When you think of bankruptcy, you picture a company losing money. That’s not necessarily the case when it comes to property insurers. Many of these companies went under because they did not have enough reserves to pay claims. And why didn’t they have enough reserves? Because they were shifting money to management firms — which are often subsidiaries of their own company — which made huge profits. …

    Citizens is the most financially stable insurer in the state. … It’s because Citizens is using premiums to build its reserves while the private companies are lining their pockets with your money and then bailing before the next hurricane hits. … If they’re dropping like flies in storm-free years, can you imagine the havoc we will see when a hurricane finally finds us again? Yet the state continues to aggressively push Citizens customers toward companies that have enough money to donate to political campaigns but not enough to pay claims. … Magor says there are roughly 50 property insurers in the state today. Of those, Weiss Ratings has deemed 20 as “weak” or “very weak.” That would mean 40 percent of the private insurers in Florida appear to be in danger of folding.

    The highest-rated insurer in the state? Citizens, by far. …

  9. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    In a city election some years ago — won’t mention which — a candidate filed to run who said he was living in the city and district.

    Every indication from people who knew him was he was living in another state. With his family. And had a full time job there.

    This information was brought to the attention of that city’s clerk who likewise said they were not empowered to take any action. The city’s police chief was contacted but also refused to investigate if the candidate lived in the district saying he had no jurisdiction.

    OK, so who the hell is in charge of making sure that people live in the right places or aren’t lying about where they live when they file to run for office?

    What’s the point of residency rules if there’s no due diligence?

    This demands a solution, and I believe the proper one should be that local police be made responsible for determining, upon receipt of a complaint that shows reason to question somebody’s residency, if the candidate who filed under oath has met that standard. Somebody has to do this, it might as well be the local cops with jurisdiction. If it’s found that the person does not live there, then this should be brought to the State Attorney for expedited action.

    Residency rules are important, they cannot be made hollow, a joke, for lack of enforcement in advance of elections.


  10. WellSaid says:

    Comm. Castillo,

    Why not you take the lead and ask for a vote to direct the City Atty. to draft an ord. specific to your City, PPines, as it relates to the residency issue you have strong opinion on.

  11. Kevin Hill says:


    Your commission may actually have the power to refuse to seat a newly-elected commissioner for not qualifying properly; I have no idea if your charter spells this out or not.

    But that would certainly be what would happen in a non-qualified person got elected to either the state legislature or Congress… but each of those bodies has a specific constitutional power to be the sole judge of its election returns.

    Then again, each of those would be a pretty extreme thing to do.


  12. WellSaid says:

    Mr. Hill…..extreme works very well at times……otherwise, good follow-up to my suggestion…

  13. Just One Vote says:

    Is this an epidemic? Where are they learning these candidate shenanigans?


    ‘You can’t make this up’: David Richardson’s GOP opponent bounces filing check, is bounced from ballot