Local representative calls for vote-by-mail laws after Post investigation

Emily Slosberg, State House District 91

Prompted by a Palm Beach Post investigation of candidates relying on mail-in voting in Florida, state Rep. Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton,  is calling for laws that would stop candidates from being inside a voter’s home while they fill out a ballot.

Slosberg said she plans to find a germane bill and file an amendment to it to prevent campaign workers or a candidate from being inside a voter’s home while he or she fills out a vote-by-mail ballot. Slosberg is on the Public Integrity and Ethics Committee and plans to discuss moving forward with Chairman Larry Metz.

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Slosberg pointed to the Florida Statute that bars someone from soliciting voters inside a polling place or within 100 feet of one. “Why should a person’s home be different? In fact it should be more secure,” she said.

The Post’s investigation published March 10 showed no state law blocks a candidate from going into a voter’s living room and helping voters fill out their ballots. The Post described how Palm Beach County Commissioner Mack Bernard and state Rep. Al Jacquet took advantage of those laws to score heavy vote-by-mail turnout to win their Aug. 30 primary races.

 

 

Delray Beach commission deadlocked in effort to fill vacant seat

Josh Smith. Delray Beach. contributed photo.
Josh Smith. Delray Beach. contributed photo.
Yvonne Odom, of Delray Beach (Staff photo by Bob Shanley.)

DELRAY BEACH — The city commission was at an impasse Tuesday night when four members could not break a tie to temporarily fill a vacant commission seat.

Unless they can reach an agreement by December, the commission will likely remain short one person until March elections, said Max Lohman, city attorney.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners considered a list of 10 applicants to fill the seat vacated by Vice Mayor Al Jacquet, who resigned to run for an open House District 88 seat, which he won in the general election.

The temporary commissioner would serve until March, when an election will be held to fill the empty seat.

The city commission narrowed the list down to two candidates: Yvonne Odom, a retired school teacher and co-founder of the decades old Delray Beach American Little League baseball team; and Josh Smith, a retired educator and community activist who unsuccessfully ran for city commission in 2015.

Both candidates are black, as is the former commissioner they aim to replace.

I think it’s great that we both selected minorities to fill the position,” Glickstein said. “While there were very qualified candidates, the optics of an all-white commission in a town that is anything but … so I think that is a good thing.”

Glickstein and Deputy Vice Mayor Jordana Jarjura both voted for Odom. Commissioners Mitch Katz and Shelly Petrolia both voted for Smith.

“Ms. Odom has been a part of this community for a very long time … she has actually been in this chamber more than who she is seeking to succeed,” Glickstein said. Jacquet missed a handful of meeting while on the campaign trail for state House.

Katz, who defeated Smith in the 2015 election for commission Seat 3, defended his vote because of Smith’s experience running for city commission.

Rep. Al Jacquet, State House District 88
Rep. Al Jacquet, State House District 88

“He went through a campaign, has been out there talking to residents,” Katz said.

The vote was postponed until a December meeting. The city charter calls for special election if the city commission cannot agree on an appointment within 60 days of vacancy, Lohman said.

But a special election isn’t feasible in this case, he added.

The Supervisor of Elections is busy, between the recent elections in early November and upcoming elections in March. Short of the city holding its own election, which is costly, the commission is out of options, Lohman said.

“I’ve seen it happen before,” he said. “If it becomes impossible, it’s simply impossible.”

More than 500 vote at Delray-area library by mid-morning

A line forms outside Hagen Ranch Road Library to vote on Monday Oct. 24, 2016.
A line forms outside Hagen Ranch Road Library to vote on Monday Oct. 24, 2016.

By mid-morning more than 500 residents had come out to the Hagen Ranch Road Library in suburban Delray Beach to show support for their favorite candidates on the first day of early voting.

A line formed outside before doors opened at 7 a.m., said Site Supervisor Nancy Ross. The line has been constant through the day, she said.

Voters said it took only about 15-20 minutes to get inside.

Margaret Gallagher voted Monday because she is leaving town tomorrow. She said she first planned to vote absentee, but felt more comfortable casting her ballot in person.

The 68-year-old said she voted for Hillary Clinton “with glee.”

“She’s going to be terrific, as well as Patrick Murphy and all the other Democrats,” she said.

Vito Fazzolara, 67, said he voted early because “it’s the most important election in the history of the U.S.”

Fazzolara voted for Donald Trump, and said Clinton possibly becoming president is “appalling.”

Leslie Steckler, 83, also voted for Trump. She said she wants less government involvement and a change.

Only about a dozen people lined up this morning outside the second Delray-area polling location, at the South County Civic Center on Jog Road south of Linton Boulevard, poll workers said. The line cleared up by 8 a.m. and people trickled in and out through the morning.

Lou Dunn, a Delray Beach resident who campaigned for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton outside the early voting location, said she anticipated long lines and passionate voters before arriving at 6:30 a.m.

“Maybe it’s because it’s the first day of early voting,” Dunn said. “People probably just wanted to avoid the lines.”

Voters wait in line to support Trump, Clinton at Boynton Beach center

Ezell Hester Center on Oct. 24, 2016. Photo taken by Alexandra Seltzer
Ezell Hester Center on Oct. 24, 2016. Photo taken by Alexandra Seltzer

 

Residents formed a line to vote before the precinct even opened Monday morning in Boynton Beach.

At the Ezell Hester Community Center, the site supervisor counted about 15 people on the line before 7 a.m. By about 8:30 a.m. more than 65 had voted.

“If that’s indicative of what we’re going to see for the rest of the day that makes me happy,” said Site Supervisor Brenda McLaughlin.

Residents said voting was easy, and fast. There were a few people who stood outside while handing out Democratic flyers. One woman, Mioacia Fleurilus, danced and chanted, “I want woman.”

Fleurilus said this election could ‘make history’ for the second time.

“First was the first black president. Now we need the first woman president,” she said while dancing.

Brian McGuire, 26, said he came out the first day of early voting because he is excited to support Hillary Clinton.

“I’m openly LGBT. I know she won’t take us back to before President Obama. I remember what it was like to be a second-

Mike Woods after voting in Boynton on Oct. 24, 2016
Mike Woods after voting in Boynton on Oct. 24, 2016

class citizen,” he said.

Brian McGuire after voting in Boynton Beach on Oct. 24, 2016. Photo taken by Alexandra Seltzer
Brian McGuire after voting in Boynton Beach on Oct. 24, 2016. Photo taken by Alexandra Seltzer

Mike Woods, 70, said it’s easier for him to vote early because he can’t walk well without a cane and thought Monday wouldn’t be too crowded.

While sporting a cap with Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again,” he said: “He wants to close the borders and she wants to open the borders and let all these people in and take our Social Security money.”

 

Charles Wiener, 58, declined to say who he voted for but said, “My preference is not to have a government of divisiveness.”

Election 2016: Reminder — Florida is a closed primary state!

Dozens of would-be voters who are not registered as a Democrat or Republican have realized today that Florida is a closed-primary state and they cannot vote, says PBC Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher.

Florida law requires voters to be party affiliated at least 29 days in advance of a primary. That was by Feb. 16, Bucher said.

“We have dozens and they’re really mad. Traditionally they haven’t voted in primaries,” Bucher said.

Election 2016: Voters discuss their choices in Boynton Beach

Voters at Ezell Hester Community Center in Boynton allowed some insight into their choices today.

Alondra Reyes, a student at Palm Beach State, voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders: “I feel like he’s talking to the younger generation. We’re the one that’s going to have to deal with all the problems we are facing.”

Reyes also had some ideas into why young women were not voting for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary: “It doesn’t have anything to do with gender. It’s her policies.”

Meanwhile, brothers Herierto and Luis Centano talked about voting for Clinton: “She has more experience in the White House than all of them. Her husband was president and he did a great job, especially with the economy. Hillary was right there. We trust her.”