Jim Bonfiglio recount lawsuit ‘removed’ to federal court

Mike Caruso Jim Bonfiglio side-by-side

A lawsuit filed by Democratic House District 89 candidate Jim Bonfiglio demanding an immediate recount in his race has now been transferred to federal court.

Bonfiglio first filed the lawsuit Monday in the state’s 2nd Judicial Circuit, based in Tallahassee.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner, the Palm Beach County canvassing board, and Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher were listed as defendants.

Detzner now argues the lawsuit belongs in federal court, filing what’s known as a “notice of removal.”

The Secretary of State noted Bonfiglio’s concerns that the Palm Beach County may not complete a recount of the HD 89 race prior to the deadline under Florida law.

Bonfiglio’s arguments come down to claims that his rights under due process and equal protection provisions in the U.S. Constitution are being violated. Thus, Detzner argues, a federal court is the proper venue for the case.

In his lawsuit, Bonfiglio highlighted comments by Bucher that Palm Beach may not be able to complete all of its recounts by the deadline of Thursday at 3 p.m. The Democrat demanded that deadline be extended.

In addition to Bonfiglio’s HD 89 contest, the races for Governor, U.S. Senate and Agriculture Commissioner also are going through a recount.

Bonfiglio currently sits just 37 votes behind Republican candidate Mike Caruso.

Bonfiglio’s suit notes that the Palm Beach County canvassing board is recounting the races “in the order they appear on the ballot, placing the HD 89 recount last, making it the least likely to be recounted” by Thursday’s deadline.

Bonfiglio also asked that his recount begin immediately, so as to ensure it is completed in time.

“We always knew this race would be close,” Bonfiglio said. “What we’re fighting for now is the right of HD 89 voters’ to have their voices heard.”

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].

One comment

  • Alec Karma

    November 16, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    Judge Karen Gievers, who just ordered an extension of the Palm Beach County recount, in violation of Florida election law, neither recused herself or disclosed she worked for The Florida Democratic Party and VP Gore, filing motions to the Florida Supreme Court, in the November 2000 recount.

    She doesn’t have jurisdiction over Palm Beach County. Additionally, the assignment of judges to cases in Leon County Court is random, by computer. Her assignment to the case with the motion for extension was not random. How was judge Gievers assigned this case and how did the Palm Beach elections supervisor know Gievers would rule in their favor? Otherwise, why would they drive 8 hours to file a motion in Leon County court other than forum shopping?

    Maybe the FDLE or US DOJ will look at “judge” Gievers emails and phone records.

    See Gievers name at the bottom of page 35.

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