Seminole relief

Remedy is authorized under 102.168 The relief which may be granted in a contest is as follows:
 "8) The circuit judge to whom the contest is presented may fashion such orders as he or she deems necessary to ensure that each allegation in the complaint is investigated, examined, or checked, to prevent or correct any alleged wrong, and to provide any relief appropriate under such circumstances."

Guiding principles in our remedies:

  • The more severe the non-compliance, the more severe the remedy should be
  • Absentee voting is a privilege, not a right
  • If the voter complied with the law (101.62), his vote should count.
  • If the voter did not comply with the law (101.62), his vote should not count, even if you substantially comply with the law. For example, if you arrive at the polls 5 seconds late, you don't get to vote. Similarly, if you don't supply the mandated information (101.62(1)(b)), your vote should not count.
  • Felonies must be punished.
  • The rules must be followed, and they must be followed for everyone equally. Bias must not be permitted.


Suggested remedy Advantages
Voter completes application form completely as required by law and is properly issued a ballot. 1. No remedy. Ballot counts.  
Voter fails to complete application form, but a ballot is inadvertently issued due to clerical oversight. No bias. 2. Reverse out those votes. Assume the ballots were voted the same way as the other absentee ballots in that county (i.e., proportional reduction). Simple. Fair. Example: If you got a driver's license via a clerical mistake, you can still get a ticket for driving without a license, even though you "thought" you had a valid license.
Voter fails to complete application form, and a felony is committed and a ballot is illegally issued only for voters who would be expected to favor a certain candidate (i.e., non-compliance, fraud, and bias). This is the case in Seminole and Martin. 3. Reverse out those votes, but assume all of such votes were cast for the favored candidate. Simple. More punitive than remedy 2 since a felony was committed and there was bias.
Massive absentee voter fraud or election supervisor fraud, e.g., dead or non-existent voters 4. Invalidate all absentee ballots Don't have to determine amount of fraud. Consistent with Court rulings since the 1930's. Simple.

Why "doing nothing" is NOT an option
That would be like adding a line to the statue that says:

104.234  If your absentee ballot application is VOID, but you are issued a ballot ILLEGALLY due to a FELONY committed by your party AND there is favoritism (where ONLY voters of your party members had the benefit of getting ballots as a result of invalid application), then your vote will FULLY count. 

Is that a statute that you'd feel comfortable adding to the law??! If both the voter and the election officials don't comply with the law, then your privilege to vote will be in full force? Do you think that's what the legislature had in mind?

More background information
There are few facts in dispute there are two essential points to be made between now and the ruling:

1. The depositions just made available provide clear evidence of *intentional* fraud: Many of the 2,126 voter ID numbers that GOP operative Michael Leach illegally added to GOP absentee ballot requests proved to be incorrect. Elections office staff members stated under oath that supervisor Goard instructed them to accept all request forms filled in by Leach whether the voter ID number was correct or incorrect. In contrast, trial testimony established that Goard had repeatedly and publicly stated her policy that no absentee ballot request would be accepted without the voter ID filled in by the voter, family member or guardian as required by Florida law.

2. The remedy is just and has good precedent for being upheld on appeal: Great precedent for an appellate court victory comes from Roe v. Alabama, a case spawned by a post-election dispute in 1994. Republican Perry Hooper appeared to have defeated incumbent Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Sonny Hornsby by 262 votes. At issue were about 2,000 absentee ballots that hadn't been opened, and were deemed illegal, because they lacked witnesses, notaries, or other requirements. Hornsby wanted them counted and both sides assumed that that if the ballots were counted it would lead to a Hornsby victory. A state judge in Montgomery ordered that the non-complying absentee ballot envelopes be opened and counted. Hooper, joined by Mobile Republican activist Larry Roe, filed suit in federal court, seeking to prevent the counting of the ballots. Their lawyers argued that if the 2,000 ballots were counted, it would violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment by treating one group of voters - those with the faulty ballots - differently than other citizens.

The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Alabama, Georgia and Florida) agreed. It ruled that under state law, those votes didn't qualify. Counting the non-complying ballots would "dilute the votes of those voters who met the requirements" and "have the effect of disenfranchising those who would have voted but for the inconvenience imposed by the notarization/witness requirement." As a result the votes weren't counted, and Hooper became chief justice. The central finding was that by allowing people with incomplete and therefore illegal ballot requests to receive ballots and to then vote violated the 14th amendment rights of voters who complied with the law, as well as those who might have voted had they not had to follow Florida's strict requirements for making absentee ballot requests.

Who really won?

Steve Kirsch Political Home Page