Two Florida Democrats filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to block Sen. Bernie Sanders — a self-declared independent — from appearing on the state’s primary ballot next month on the grounds of Florida having a closed primary system, Politico reports.
Florida’s closed primary system does not allow individuals to cast votes across party lines or for independents or third-party voters to participate. Sanders is an independent who caucuses with Democrats in the Senate, but is currently the front-runner in the Democratic primary for president.
The suit is backed by two resident Florida Democrats: Frank Bach and George Brown.
Karen Gievers, a former Florida circuit court judge representing the plaintiffs, said, “Florida is a closed primary state, yet here we have someone who is an independent on the Democratic ballot. You can’t be an independent and be a member of the party.”
Juan Penalosa, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, countered: “The Florida Democratic Party executive committee voted unanimously to place Senator Sanders on the Florida ballot. Votes cast for the senator are valid and must be counted.”
Florida law does allow political parties to determine which candidates appear on their primary ballot, and Sanders appeared on the Florida primary ballot in 2016.
- The move comes as Sanders is facing major backlash in Florida, which has a large Cuban population, over his comments praising aspects of Fidel Castro’s dictatorship.
- Sanders, a democratic socialist, said during a CBS “60 Minutes” interview that he condemns Castro’s authoritarianism, but that not everything the Cuban leader did was bad.
- “He had a massive literacy program,” Sanders said. “Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?”
You can follow us on social media at www.twitter.com/HighlightHwd or on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Highlight-Hollywood/193119760769011
Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
Follow us on Twitter @HighlightHwd or @LightfootinHwd