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Rick Scott: SD 40 election will be held as planned

Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday rejected a request from Florida Democratic Party chair Stephen Bittel, asking the governor to postpone the Sept. 26 special election for Senate District 40.

Scott’s position suggests he may not heed a similar request from a coalition of progressive groups that asked him “to postpone municipal and statehouse elections scheduled in the coming weeks due to the devastating impact of Hurricane Irma.”

Common Cause Florida, State Voices Florida, the League of Women Voters of Florida and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law sent a separate letter to Scott on Thursday.

Bittel wrote to Scott on Wednesday, noting Irma’s devastation of South Florida.

“Our community is focused on rebuilding and recovery, not voting,” he wrote. “I urge you to delay the SD 40 Sept. 26 special general election, for a period of two weeks, until Oct. 11, when our community has had the necessary time to heal.”

Scott’s spokesman said the governor would not change the date.

“We rely on the independent supervisors of elections to guide decision-making on elections in their counties,” Deputy Communications Director McKinley Lewis said in an email.

Miami-Dade “Supervisor of Elections Christina White has requested to move forward with this election, and we will accept her guidance,” he added. 

White had separately written to state Division of Elections director Maria Matthews this week, saying “all three early voting sites are fine and have power.” 

We are assessing Election Day polling places. No major damage to our knowledge. And it’s helpful to know that power will be restored countywide by Sunday and schools open Monday,” White told Matthews. “I do not have any information that would prevent us from moving forward as planned.”

Democrat Annette Taddeo is running against Republican Jose Felix Diaz and independent Christian “He-Man” Schlaerth for the seat, vacated by former GOP Sen. Frank Artiles.

Written By

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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