State Attorney Calls Florida’s Write-In Loophole a Scam
Tallahassee, FL – Palm Beach State Attorney Dave Aronberg is vigorously encouraging the Constitution Revision Commission to end the practice of closing party primaries when a write-in candidate is on the general election ballot. Comments from Dave Aronberg, state attorney, Palm Beach County.
Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission could give voters a chance to end the practice of allowing write-in candidates during an election. Some argue the write-in provision amounts to fraud that can be more valuable than gold for a candidate. Twenty years ago, voters decided that when only Republicans or only Democrats run for an office, everybody should be allowed to vote in the primary in that race. But Florida’s Division of Elections determined write-in candidates without a party are real contenders, which allows them to close the open primary. Speaking on The Rotunda podcast, Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg says the practice is used to disenfranchise voters.
“The write-in candidates are used to manipulate the system to prevent people from voting. It’s a scam. It’s something that the party bosses and the political consultants employ to limit the number of voters in every election.” Said Aronberg.
Sometimes, a lobbyist, close friend or family member of a candidate will offer as a write-in, just to keep non-party members from voting in the primary. Dave Aronberg hopes the commission will let voters decide to ditch the write-in loophole.
Aronberg is advocating for an amendment to the constitution. The amendment would let all voters participate in a primary if there is no other general-election opposition or if the only opposition comes from write-in candidates.
Aronberg says the effort to close the loophole requires another amendment to the constitution because both parties, Democrats and Republicans, benefit from the ability to close a primary. The commission also is considering a separate amendment that would open the state’s primaries to a system in which voters, regardless of parties, can cast ballots for candidates, regardless of affiliation. If a proposal successfully passes the commission, it will then need support from 60 percent of voters at the polls.
Producer: Trimmel Gomes