Council Corner Councilman Robert Weinroth on voting

1283

The primary elections are now behind us and the attention of the nation is now on the offices that will be up for election in November.
While most attention will be on who will get the keys to the White House (I wonder if there are keys to the front door of the White House?), down ballot there will be many candidates and issues demanding the attention of voters.
With a ballot that promises to be 2-3 pages, voters should give due consideration to voting by mail via Absentee Ballots (no – you do not need to be “absent” to avail yourself of this method of voting) or going to the polls during the two weeks prior to Election Day on November 8th.
Early Voting is available in 15 locations within Palm Beach County (including the Downtown Library in Boca Raton). Registered voters can go to any PBC Early Voting location. The precinct workers will print your ballot so you will not miss out on voting “down ballot” for the people vying for office from your district.
The inclement weather on the day of the primary caught many people by surprise resulting in unusually low turnout on the Election Day. In Broward County, more voters opted to Vote by Mail and vote early than the number who cast a ballot on August 30th. This trend is likely to continue.
Focusing, for a moment, on the August primary, it is readily apparent that manipulation of primary elections needs to be addressed by the Florida legislature.
Despite the purported aim of allowing all voters the opportunity to participate in elections where the candidates are from one party (creating a universal primary open to all voters), there have been innumerable cases of write-in candidates closing the primary, effectively disenfranchising everyone not registered in the party of the candidates whose names appear on the ballot.
The date of an election is also subject to manipulation for candidates who believe the August primary ballot will inure to their benefit rather than being part of a much larger ballot in the general election (with a much higher turn-out, skewed, perhaps, by national issues).
In Palm Beach County manipulation has occurred in the last two elections for Property Appraiser where the incumbent recruited and filed paperwork on behalf of a friend to enter the race as a write-in to require a primary.
Likewise two of the candidates for Port of Palm Beach Commission recruited family members to require an August primary.
This gaming of the system needs to be stopped.
While the opportunity to become a write-in candidate opens the election process to virtually every registered voter, no write-in has ever won elected office in Florida.
It’s time for the legislature to remove the write-in from determining the date of an election (August or November) or if a primary will be open to all or just the voters of the candidates’ party.