FOR THOSE WHO DON'T READ, HEAR, OR WATCH THE NEWS...
There is a battle brewing over the question of how to handle the situation in the 16th Congressional District on Election Day.
Although former congressman Mark Foley resigned last week, it was too late to remove his name from ballots. When voters go into the voting booth November 7, a vote beside Foley's name will actually be counted toward State Representative Joe Negron, whom Republican leaders picked as their replacement candidate.
But do elections officials advise voters of that fact in or near the polling place? And if so, will it seem partisan instead of informational? Supervisors of Elections in the eight counties affected in the 16th District generally are against the idea, but the State Division of Elections is suggesting that notices be included in absentee ballots and in every voting booth.
There is a precedent of sorts. In 2004, Democratic congressional candidate Jim Stork dropped out of a campaign against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw. Robin Rorapaugh replaced Stork, whose name remained on the ballots in Palm Beach and Broward counties. Rorapaugh said Thursday that a sign was posted in Broward County polls advising that a vote for Stork was a vote for her. But she said the state Division of Elections battled her efforts to replace Stork on the ballot, a decision ultimately reversed by the Florida Supreme Court. Asked whether the state's election officials seemed to be aiding Negron's efforts this year with the advisory to post notices, Rorapaugh said, "Oh absolutely. There's much more cooperation with the Republican Party in this matter than there ever was with the Democratic Party."
Attorneys for both parties are looking closely to see what develops, and you can bet that whatever the decision, there will be a legal challenge.