Problems in casting votes for candidates is as much a part of the Florida landscape as palm trees. Voting issues, ballot complaints, and electoral lawsuits are so much the norm that when an election actually goes off without a hitch, it gets a banner headline. In keeping with that tradition, the Democratic Party has just begun a new lawsuit to seek a change in the voting process.
At issue for the Dems is a desire to change the existing law in the state that dictates the order of candidates on the ballot. As it stands the statute is that the party of the governor is the determining factor as to which party candidate is listed in the top position among the choices for an office. This is entirely done with an eye on the 2020 election, indicating that this suit is being spearheaded by the Democratic National Committee.
The reason for this challenge is what is sometimes thought of as a positional advantage -- that being whoever is the top-listed candidate enjoys a level of benefit in the numbers. The DNC is applying the "bail-bondsman principle." That principle explains why virtually every city in America has a bail-bond company named AA Bail Bonds. The first listing in the alphabetized directory gets the most business.
If this latest Democratic stunt strikes you as a petty grievance, it only shows the level of desperation being applied to the swing-state status of Florida, and the number of close elections in recent years. What justification there is to deny the incumbent president the top position, and why the law is wrong, is not readily provided. Turns out the Democrats simply don't trust it to work in their favor.
This has been another tradition in Florida for some time now -- a Democratic Party that calls for adherence to election laws in the media, while working in the courts to challenge and undermine those very same laws. Following the 2018 midterms, the close races for the Senate and governor’s seats saw the likes of Bill Nelson and Andrew Gillum making almost religious pronouncements that election laws had to be followed ardently.
While they were issuing these hollow talking points, the Democratic Party had lawyers fanning out across the state to bring challenges to a number of laws, in a desperate bid to have judges make changes on the fly to glean extra votes. After these calls for strict adherence, everything from signature verifications to absentee ballot deadlines were argued to be suddenly bendy as a willow branch. Now the Democrats are striking a preemptive legal pose.
This particular suit is exposed in its desperation by the details. Quoted by Politico, state Sen. Gary Farmer tries to make the case for why this needs to change. “The unfortunate reality is that the party that is in control keeps passing laws that put more hurdles and makes it harder for people to vote.” Sounds like a valid reason, until you look at the reality. The law being challenged was not passed by the party in control.
The statute the Dems want rescinded was established in 1951. To further make a mockery of the Democratic lawsuit, this law was passed by a Democrat-held Legislature, and signed by the Democratic governor. For 70 years this law hasn't once been an issue, but the spate of recent elections where the results did not go the Democrats' way means the law the Dems created is now a problem in need of a solution? Where's the sense?
The farce of all this is that while the party has managed to bring forward this suit, they have not answered that question, haven't provided the justification for it -- they haven't even been able to supply a proposed "solution" to what they deem a problem. Court documents state the Dems have not shown evidence this positional advantage has swayed any outcome, and cases have excused away any issue of this being a constitutional problem.
Essentially, what we see being forwarded is the Democratic Party opposing a law they instituted generations ago. They are now calling it unfair, all the while struggling to show how, and what their idea of "fair" would entail, by way of a solution.
Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.