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Some Florida Democrats struggling to remove Bernie Sanders from primary ballot

26 Feb, 2020

Some Democrats in Florida have sued to remove Bernie Sanders from the state’s primary ballot, demanding votes in his favour be cancelled, arguing the socialist stalwart is not a true member of their party.

The lawsuit was filed in a Leon County circuit court on Monday by two Tallahassee men, calling for Sanders – who has surged to the head of the Democratic pack in recent weeks – to be disqualified from the Florida primary. As a declared independent, they argue, the Vermont senator would be “interloping improperly” and “unlawfully” in the upcoming vote in March.

Matt Dixon@Mdixon55

Welcome to Florida, @BernieSanders

This was filed in state court today

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“Defendant Sanders is clearly an independent and is clearly not a Democrat, by his own definition,” the complaint says. “His current ‘day job’ is as a United States senator and he has consistently, proudly asserted his service in that role as independent.”

The plaintiffs have the right to cast their March 17 Democratic presidential preference primary votes for those who are really Democrats, not independents, and are entitled to this court’s protection of their right to vote for a Democrat.

Their legal challenge appears to have very little support among the Florida Democratic Party leadership. The suit was characterised as “ridiculous.” by organization’s Executive Director Juan Penalosa  

“The Florida Democratic Party Executive Committee voted unanimously to place Sen. Sanders on the Florida ballot,” he told a Tallahassee newspaper. “Votes cast for the senator are valid and must be counted.”

A similar decision was made ahead of the 2016 primary, in which Sanders was allowed to appear on Democratic ballots in Florida during his first presidential bid, taking a far-off second place to Hillary Clinton.

The lawsuit has caused its share of excited commentary on social media, with people pointing out that Sanders filed the appropriate paperwork to run on a Democratic ticket last March, and that Senate Democrats appear to count Bernie among their own ranks, at least judging by their website.

Ellahbie Early-Voted for @BernieSanders in TN@EllahbieReplying to @Mdixon55 @BernieSanders

A. Vermont doesn’t allow you to register with a party, so he can’t register as a Dem there so, B. He filled out the following form. Case dismissed.

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Socialist USAF Veteran@BLignellReplying to @Mdixon55 @BernieSanders

Case dismissed Evidence shows the Democrats do consider him part of the party evidence is on their own Senate website..

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Along with Sanders, the complaint names the Florida Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee and the state’s chief elections officer, Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee, as defendants.

The suit comes while centrist elements within the Democratic Party – among them the campaigns and supporters of former VP Joe Biden and billionaire media mogul Mike Bloomberg – step up attacks on Sanders as he pulls ahead in the race, scoring primary wins in New Hampshire and Nevada and taking second place in Iowa by a razor-thin margin. While the legal challenge has little chance of succeeding in the courts, it may furnish the senator’s opponents with ammunition later on Tuesday night, during the party’s 10th presidential debate.

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