A hearing was held on June 18, 2012; it began precisely at 9 am Eastern Time in Leon County, Florida in the Court of Judge Terry Lewis to decide whether Obama would appear on the ballot in November and whether the lawsuit filed by Mr. Michael Voeltz (a lifelong Democrat) should be dismissed with prejudice. The same Judge who heard the famous Bush V. Gore (ultimately decided by the Supreme Court of the United States), heard this matter. This famous case was started in his courtroom at the circuit court level where Judge Lewis presided in 2000 over Florida election statutes as well.
Speaking for the plaintiff was Larry Klayman; his opening statement quoted John Adams, our second President: “We are a Nation of Laws, not Men.” (framing the question for the court, the state of Florida and the Nation in his first utterance.) Mr. Klayman outlined that Florida election law does not operate in a vacuum but in concert with the Constitution of Florida, the United States, and our respective legislature(s). He showed that each party’s obligations and interests must be read in concert with one another.
This was in stark contrast to Obama’s attorneys and the attorney for Florida’s Secretary of State, who attempted to narrow the issues for the court and Judge Lewis. The basis for their argument was that since Obama was not in fact “nominated” by the Democratic Party and would not be until September, this action in this court was not ripe and should be dismissed with prejudice. Their argument was supposedly based on Florida Statute Chapter 103.101, which in their view states that since the election held last February was a “Presidential Preference Primary” election and that Obama ran un-opposed that he in fact was not “nominated” by the Democratic Party and therefore the action in this court was premature.
To dispense with some of the more technical issues, which will be discussed shortly, a synopsis will be presented first.
The basis of the argument came down to a multi-faceted supposition that was construed as a technicality by Obama’s attorneys and the State’s counsel. In their view, it was operative in the context that the Democratic Party (a private legal entity) controls the nomination process. To bring some clarity to this issue, it is ludicrous as a “matter of “law” to allow such an argument to stand. We have in essence three parties to the candidacy of any individual that seeks either a state or federal office. Therefore, to develop some reasonable logic, we need to look to each party’s rights, duties, and obligations in this process.
Only two of these parties reduce to a matter of law, the actual candidate and the election law within the state that the individual files to declare candidacy. The political parties (Democrats, Republicans, Marxists, Libertarians etc.) are legal entities that control who they will support with their funds, political machinery, and operatives. They must also meet certain qualifications under law and affirmatively execute certain documents that are filed with either local or state election officials.
Even if a political party chooses to “nominate” and support a given candidate, the candidate must tender the affirmative execution of qualification documents.
These political parties choose whom it is that they will support; the statute makes clear that the people of Florida will know their choice. They do not as a matter of “law” control the process as to the “legality” of any candidate(s) filing for any office within the borders of any state or for the nation for that matter, which is where their argument fails for Obama and his attorneys.
If we were to accept the argument of Obama and the state of Florida, we must accept the choice that the political party makes and only that choice. If this position and argument were allowed to stand, the voter’s choice(s) could then be nullified regardless of their choice of candidate after an election, a ludicrous proposition. Much to the chagrin of Obama, we are not a one-party state and government quite yet in the fashion of the communist party of the defunct Soviet Union, where only their party’s candidates appeared on the ballot.
If we accept Obama’s argument, that is in effect what we would have to accept.
Once again, it is the political parties’ “prerogative” to lend support, not declare who any candidate is; they only choose the declared candidate they wish to financially and cooperatively support. Therefore, we must look to the “laws” of the state of Florida for any answers to this issue and the legislature’s intent to enjoin the parties in the interests of the Constitution, the candidate, and the people of Florida.
Florida law under Chapter 99 (“Candidates”) declares what a candidate must do to become eligible to be placed upon any ballot for public office in Florida.
Chapter 103 discusses “Presidential Electors, Political Parties, Executive Committees, and Members”; Florida statutes are specific as to what must be done when a political party declares a “candidate” that will carry their “brand” of political identity of the nominating party.
It must be assumed that Chapter 103 was written by the legislature to make sure that any citizen of the state of Florida was aware of the “party affiliation” of any “person” who filed for any public office in Florida, or national office. In this matter, of course, for the office of president.
These private legal entities (political parties) do not control who would in fact be placed upon a ballot in the state of Florida. This is affirmed in the statutes that after “nomination” by a political party, the Secretary of State notifies the nominee by certified mail. Furthermore, the named individual, if they do not intend to run for the office of president, must decline the “nomination” to the Secretary of State. These safeguards have been legislated so the people of Florida will expressly know if a given candidate has a political party affiliation supporting them in an election. The action by the individual is considered affirmative so that the political party is not dictating to the “candidate” or the state of Florida who must appear on a general election ballot.
To do otherwise could disenfranchise the electorate and nullify any vote that the “people” could make when they voted their preference of any particular “candidate” for public office in Florida. The “political party” could otherwise substitute candidates at will even after an election for possibly capricious reasons if these safeguards were not in force.
Chapter 99 (“Candidates”) occurs first in Florida election law and therefore declares what qualifications a “candidate” must posses and would be considered a predicate condition for consideration to any office. Section 99.061 (“Method of qualifying for nomination or election to federal, state, county, or district office”) declares what must happen for a candidate to be considered qualified for any particular party(s) nomination:
99.061Method of qualifying for nomination or election to federal, state, county, or district office.—
(1)The provisions of any special act to the contrary notwithstanding, each person seeking to qualify for nomination or election to a federal, state, or multicounty district office, other than election to a judicial office as defined in chapter 105 or the office of school board member, shall file his or her qualification papers with, and pay the qualifying fee, which shall consist of the filing fee and election assessment, and party assessment, if any has been levied, to, the Department of State, or qualify by the petition process pursuant to s. 99.095 with the Department of State, at any time after noon of the 1st day for qualifying, which shall be as follows: the 120th day prior to the primary election, but not later than noon of the 116th day prior to the date of the primary election, for persons seeking to qualify for nomination or election to federal office or to the office of the state attorney or the public defender; and noon of the 71st day prior to the primary election, but not later than noon of the 67th day prior to the date of the primary election, for persons seeking to qualify for nomination or election to a state or multicounty district office, other than the office of the state attorney or the public defender.
Therefore, if we look at these statutes, we will ascertain what must occur for a candidate in-and-of-themselves to become eligible to be placed upon a ballot. This section of Florida law is shown below for these qualifications in Chapter 99.0955:
99.0955 Candidates with no party affiliation; name on general election ballot.—
(1)Each person seeking to qualify for election as a candidate with no party affiliation shall file his or her qualifying papers and pay the qualifying fee or qualify by the petition process pursuant to s. 99.095 with the officer and during the times and under the circumstances prescribed in s. 99.061. Upon qualifying, the candidate is entitled to have his or her name placed on the general election ballot.
(2)The qualifying fee for candidates with no party affiliation shall consist of a filing fee and an election assessment as prescribed in s. 99.092. Filing fees paid to the Department of State shall be deposited into the General Revenue Fund of the state. Filing fees paid to the supervisor of elections shall be deposited into the general revenue fund of the county.
As can be seen by the above statute, “party affiliation” is not necessary to be placed upon any election ballot in Florida. Furthermore, these qualifications are the minimal qualifications that a “candidate” must possess to be placed upon a ballot. So why would the legislature create this statute if a “candidate” could only be placed upon a ballot if they needed the endorsement(s) of a political party? The short answer is they would not! So, then, why was this statute drafted and made into law?
Again, it can only be seen in the light of the people of Florida to truly know what party was supporting a given “candidate”, not that they controlled the ballot of any person’s name within the state of Florida. An affirmative action must be performed by the candidates themselves when they file the qualifying documents with the Secretary of State; after they are “nominated” by a political party, they must again affirmatively decline by expressly declining the “nomination” directly to the Secretary of State if they choose not to run.
In Obama’s case the ‘law” is clear as shown below:
101.252 Candidates entitled to have names printed on certain ballots; exception.-
(1) Any candidate for nomination who has qualified as prescribed by law is entitled to have his or her name printed on the official primary election ballot. However, when there is only one candidate of any political party qualified for an office, the name of the candidate shall not be printed on the primary election ballot, and such candidate shall be declared nominated for the office.
Now that we have examined the applicable statutes of a particular candidate’s qualifications and the express declaration of a candidate’s political party affiliation, we can turn our attention to the particular statute cited by Mr. Klayman, Chapter 102.168 Section 3(b), with the applicable law shown below:
102.168 Contest of election.—
(b) Ineligibility of the successful candidate for the nomination or office in dispute.
Mr. Klayman has stated the particular statute that is applicable to this case, much to the admonishment of Obama’s counsel who vehemently opposes such a condition. The “taxpayer” requirement of the statute is satisfied from section 1, and an election did transpire and was challenged by a “person” of standing to bring a complaint to the circuit court as required in the statute. Mr. Voeltz has been specific in his complaint on what especially is a defect with Obama, namely his ineligibility to hold office under section 3 (b) shown above.
The statute discusses two reasons: either they are not eligible for “nomination” (again, a reference to a political party) or actual qualification for the office itself.
In Obama’s case, he is not eligible as he is not a “natural born citizen”; however, he is the de-facto nominee of his party and for his attorneys and Secretary of State to believe otherwise is mere folly. Having them make believe that it is contingent upon the Democrats’ Convention in September is merely obscuring the facts in this case.
If common sense was applied by these men, they would know that Obama is running for president in every state in the union, and by statute, he is already the declared nominee in Florida.
So, pardon me if the authorities are engaging in subterfuge; we can expect that from Obama. However, the Secretary of State for Florida is a real stretch since Obama is “declared” nominated per statute 101.252!
What in essence we have done is lay open the fallacy of the arguments made by Obama and his attorneys, as it is unreasonable to assume that a “private entity” (the Democratic Party) has complete control on who would be placed upon a primary or general election ballot in the state of Florida. If we follow the arguments of Obama’s attorneys, the people are disenfranchised and nullified by the sheer capricious whim of a political party that would be free to place any person upon a ballot in Florida, even against the expressed wishes of any given candidate, again a ludicrous proposition which the “law” precludes.
Part two discusses the actual arguments at the hearing and the position of the parties.
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