On July 10, the attorney for a local Florida elections office filed this brief, in defense of Florida law that requires closed primaries (unless a political party chooses to open its primary). The case is LaCasa v Townsley, southern district, U.S. District Court, 12-22432-civ.
Plaintiffs in this case are registered voters who are not Democrats. They are seeking to vote in the Democratic primary for Miami-Dade County State Attorney, a partisan post. They argue that they should be allowed to vote in the Democratic primary for that office, because the only candidates who filed to be on any party’s primary ballot for that office are two Democrats (and there are no independent candidates), so in effect whoever wins the Democratic primary wins the election. But, in this particular election, there are two write-in candidates for that position in the general election, and at least one of them is a Republican.
The Florida Constitution says when only candidates from a single party are running, then all voters may vote in that party’s primary for that office. The plaintiffs say this provision should apply to this year’s primary for that office because the write-in candidates in the general election are “sham” candidates, who filed merely at someone’s request, so as to keep the Democratic primary for that office closed to only Democratic voters. The Dade County brief, defending the closed primary, points out that write-in candidates do sometimes win, and cites the example of U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski in the November 2010 election.