You are here

Write-In Candidates Closing a Primary Election

Robert Timothy Reagan, Margaret S. Williams, Marie Leary, Catherine R. Borden, Jessica L. Snowden, Patricia D. Breen, Jason A. Cantone
March 20, 2013
Available Online Only

Mazzilli v. Townsley (William J. Zloch, S.D. Fla. 1:12-cv-22432)
A Florida statute provides that a primary election is open to all voters if only one party fields a candidate for the general election. A ruling by Florida’s secretary of state specifies that if anyone registers as a write-in candidate for the general election, then the primary election remains closed to voters who are not party members. Several weeks before a primary election in which only one party had candidates, two voters challenged the secretary’s ruling. Less than one month later, the court denied immediate injunctive relief because the plaintiffs had failed to include the secretary of state as a defendant. Twelve days later, reviewing an amended complaint, the court held the secretary’s ruling a reasonable interpretation of an unambiguous statute serving legitimate interests.
Topics: Primary election; write-in candidate.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.