Watch CBS News

Judge Rules SAO Race Will Be A Closed Primary

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A federal judge has ruled that only Democrats will be able to cast ballots in the Miami-Dade State Attorney race in the August primary.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge William Zloch denied a motion from two voters who sought to open up the election by becoming "write in" candidates, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.

While Michele Samaroo and T. Omar Malone's names won't appear on the ballot, voters can still write their names into a blank space on the ballot.

By denying more than 700,000 voters a chance to cast their ballots, the race between incumbent Katherine Fernandez Rundle, who has held the post since 1993, and challenger defense attorney Rod Vereen will be decided by 525,890 Democrats.

Under a 1998 voter-approved amendment to the Florida Constitution, the race would have been open to all 1.3 million Miami-Dade voters because no Republican or independent filed to run.

In 2000 then Secretary of State Katherine Harris issued an advisory opinion which stated that just one write-in candidate was enough to close a primary.

Judge Zloch said Zloch said because Samaroo and Malone qualified as "candidates" under state law, they should be counted as opposition.

CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.