Court asked to dismiss Reggie Fullwood candidacy suit

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Secretary of State Ken Detzner is asking a judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Democratic state Rep. Reggie Fullwood, who failed to qualify during the election qualification period elections due to errors by two notaries public.

Fullwood would have ran unopposed for re-election in Jacksonville House District 13, filed a lawsuit in Leon County circuit court on July 29. His contention is the state was improper in deciding against allowing Fullwood to qualify.

Attorneys for Detzner, who filed a response last week, said the state could not accept incomplete qualifying paperwork.

According to the response, “Despite petitioner’s (Fullwood’s) contention to the contrary, the secretary does not have a ministerial duty to accept facially incomplete items as complete … Nor does the secretary have the authority, much less a ministerial duty, to judge whether a candidate has substantially complied with the qualifying statute. The petition should, therefore, be denied and this action dismissed.”

Fullwood submitted forms on June 19 to elections officials without a notary’s required signature. After learning of the clerical error, he presented revised forms the next day, which was the deadline for qualifying for November’s elections.

However, a second notary failed to mark the required check box on the form.

Court documents on Fullwood’s lawsuit emphasize the lack of signature error. As there are no candidates qualified in the House District 13 race, the state will hold a special election with a new qualifying period.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.