The long, tortured election for Broward County Commission District 2 isn’t really over, even though a commissioner finally was seated earlier this month.
The litigation roils on, and the Florida Supreme Court has agreed to hear it.
The state Supreme Court set an April 9 hearing for oral arguments in the case, which centers on candidate Tyron Francois’ eligibility as a candidate, as well as write-in candidates’ ability in Florida to exclude voters from participating in election primaries.
Brittany Wallman Incoming Broward Commissioner Mark Bogen said he does live in Broward County and so do his wife and son. Incoming Broward Commissioner Mark Bogen said he does live in Broward County and so do his wife and son. ( Brittany Wallman ) –>
If all candidates in a race are from the same party, as was the case in District 2 with all Democratic candidates, voters from all parties participate in the primary. But if a write-in candidate enters the race, a partisan primary is held, and the rest of the voters participate only in the general election, where the write-in candidate is represented as a blank line to be filled in.
No write-in candidate has ever won a general election in Florida. So the system successsfully excludes a large percentage of voters from selecting their next commissioner. In this case, after a Democratic-voter-only primary was held, Francois withdrew. Only Democrats got to select the county commissioner.
Scherer quizzed Francois in court last year about his relationship to Broward Commissioner Dale Holness. Scherer intimated that Holness, a Democrat, coached Francois to get into the race so that only Democrats could choose among the five Democrats running: Bogen, who ultimately won; Charlotte Rodstrom, a Scherer friend; Carmen Dixon Jones, a Holness friend; Lisa Aronson; and Terry Williams-Edden.
Francois testified that he didn’t know Holness and also said he wasn’t living with Holness’s daughter but had used her address at one time.
Assistant State Attorney David Schulson said in his memo that he found Francois was indeed the two-year boyfriend of Holness’s daughter, Damara Holness, and she lived with him.
He also said Francois talked to Holness about his political ambitions, but Francois said Holness discouraged him from running because he thought Francois needed more education and life experience.
“There is now no question that Tyron Francois was not truthful in his answers regarding his relationship with Damara Holness and Commissioner Holness,” Schulson wrote.
Still, he said the only “material” information at the hearing was Francois’s residency. He was initially removed from the ballot because he did not reside in District 2.
Schulson said the false testimony about Holness was not relevant to the case, and thus didn’t warrant criminal perjury charges.
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