Ronald Bray submitted all the required paperwork to qualify as a write-in candidate on the Nov. 4 general election for the seat of state House District 96. Two candidates from the Democratic Party qualified to have their names printed on the ballot. Article VI, §5(b) of the Florida Constitution provides that primaries are open to all voters regardless of party affiliation where the winner of the primary “will have no opposition in the general election.” In the Fourth District Court of Appeal, any opposition, even write-in candidates, precludes the application of the clause, and keeps the primary closed. Telli v. Snipes, 98 So.3d 1284 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012). Bray, as a write-in candidate, is the only opposition candidate for the general election for House District 96. Because Bray is an opposition candidate, the Democratic primary in the district was going to be held as a closed primary.
Robert Adams filed suit in Leon Circuit Court, challenging Bray’s qualifications to run as a write-in candidate for House District 96. Adams was not registered as a voter with any political party.
Adams sought injunctive and declaratory relief removing Bray from the ballot and allowing all voters to vote in the Democratic primary for the district covering parts of Margate, Coconut Creek and Parkland. Section 99.0615, Fla. Stat., provides: “At the time of qualification, all write-in candidates must reside within the district represented by the office sought.”