A bill that removes the requirement that write-in candidates live within the district of the seat they’re seeking has passed its first committee stop. Members of the House Government Operations Subcommittee passed House Bill 4043 Tuesday morning with no discussion.
The bill’s sponsor, Joseph Geller, told committee members the bill was needed to repeal a law that causes confusion for voting districts because different districts have different provisions.
The glitch was thrust into the spotlight after two court cases found the law unconstitutional. It left Florida House District 64 without a representative this legislative session.
Former state Rep. Jamie Grant won re-election last year, but the election results were tossed after a court ruled a write-in candidate in the race was unduly removed from the race based on the residency requirement.
“[The law] can create confusion and its likely to lead qualifying officers to make mistakes because they don’t know it’s been struck down,” Geller said.
A new election is scheduled for April 21. Grant is alone on the ballot, but the write-in candidate, Daniel John Matthews, did qualify for the new election. Grant is expected to win handily.
A companion bill in the Senate is sponsored by Eleanor Sobel.