State Court Suit Challenges Florida Closed Primary

The day before a federal court rejected a challenge to Florida closed primaries, a suit raising the same challenge was filed in state court in Broward County.  The suit is a result of two Democrats filing for a Broward County Commission seat and the closing of that primary as a result of a person filing as a write-in candidate for the general election.  The central allegation of this suit is that the Secretary of State was wrong in concluding in an advisory opinion that a write-in candidate is sufficient opposition in a general election to close a primary election under Art. V, §5(b) of the Florida Constitution.  The plaintiff in the case is a private citizen, William Telli, and the defendants are the Supervisor of Elections for Broward County, Brenda Snipes, the Secretary of State, Kent Detzner, and the Elections Canvassing Commission. 

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Thomas D. Shults, Esq.

About Thomas D. Shults, Esq.

Tom Shults is a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer and represents clients in election and sunshine law issues, complex business and commercial disputes and probate and trust suits. He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1983 and has maintained an active trial practice in state and federal courts for over 35 years. Tom represents candidates, political parties and political action committees in election disputes and election law litigation. He successfully represented the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections in Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections et al. v. Browning et al. , where the Florida Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of Sarasota County’s charter election law amendments. Tom has served on the Professional Ethics Committee of The Florida Bar and is the past Chairman of the Code and Rules of Evidence Committee of The Florida Bar. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Community Service Award of the Sarasota County Bar Association for his work with the Sarasota Mental Health Community Centers. In 2013 he was nominated for circuit court judge by the 12th Circuit Judicial Nominating Committee. Tom has served on the faculty of the Kessler-Eidson Program for Trial Techniques at Emory University School of Law and on the faculty of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy Program for Practicing Lawyers at Nova Southeastern University School of Law. Tom grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida and is a graduate of St. Petersburg High School (1973), Florida State University (B.S. 1977) and Washburn University School of Law (J.D. cum laude 1982). He is veteran of the United States Army.
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