Palm Bay: City Lawsuit Against Supervisor Of Elections Lori Scott.

Below you’ll find the lawsuit filed by the City of Palm Bay which seeks to force the Brevard County Supervisor of Elections to count the petition signatures.

There are several issues with the lawsuit.

First, the complaint says “On or about November 6, 2018, the committee delivered the original signed petitions to Terese Jones, City Clerk for the City of Palm Bay.”

According to the members of the petition committee, the petitions were actually presented to the City on November 1, 2018. While in some ways the date may not matter as there may be a little wiggle room in “on or about,” the date is known and the City misrepresented it.

Secondly, as we have continued to point out the City Charter requires the City to act within guidelines set by other agencies.

Section 3.09 Petitions to Amend the City Charter or to Adopt or Repeal Ordinances.

(4) The procedures to have an issue placed on the ballot shall be as set forth in this section, and shall be subject to other governmental agencies’ requirements that may affect this section. (emphasis ours)

The Florida Department of Elections in 2006 instituted a rule indicating the need for a date of birth for every signature on the petition form in order for the signatures to be verified. In 2007, the rule added that either the voter registration number or the date of birth of the signer must be provided on the petition form.

The City does not address this in their filing. The City seems to be trying to blame the Supervisor of Elections for the City’s failure to follow the City’s own Charter.

We fear that this will not end well for the City of Palm Bay.

5 Responses to “Palm Bay: City Lawsuit Against Supervisor Of Elections Lori Scott.”

  1. Thomas L Gaume says:

    This is a municipal level issue, and by law the SOE is only responsible for County, State, and Federal issues. The Clerk of the municipality is responsible for the elections and associated documents. However it is at the SOE’s descrecion if he or she provides such services to the municipal level, provided they are completed by the SOE’s guidelines.

    Current case law from the Florida Supreme Court in Florida League of Cities v. Smith:

    “??????? ??? ?? ???? ??????? ???? ???????? ??? ?? ???? ???? ?? ??????? ? ????? ???? ?? ???? ????? ??? ???????. E.g., Pino v. District Court of Appeal, 604 So.2d 1232 (Fla. 1992); Hatten v. State, 561 So.2d 562 401*401 (Fla. 1990); Caldwell v. Estate of McDowell, 507 So.2d 607 (Fla. 1987). ???????? ??? ??? ?? ???? ?? ????????? ??? ????????? ?? ???? ? ?????, ??? ???? ?? ??????? ? ????? ??????? ??????? ??? ????????? ??????????? ?? ??? ???. E.g., State ex rel. Glynn v. McNayr, 133 So.2d 312 (Fla. 1961); Florida Society of Newspaper Editors, Inc. v. Florida Public Service Commission, 543 So.2d 1262 (Fla. 1st DCA), review denied, 551 So.2d 461 (Fla. 1989).”

    I added the emphasis for ease of reading and understanding. There is no established right for the City to even pursue a writ of mandamus against the Clerk.

    This case should be dismissed with prejudice.

  2. interested person says:

    After reading through the law suit it appears to be an obvious attempt by the city to keep this off the ballot. They are trying to force the SOE to certify petitions by comparing the petition signatures to the voter registration signatures. Keep in mind the SOE staff folks are not handwriting experts, just regular folks being asked to do a job. They will undoubtedly be unable to certify all of the petitions and thus end up with a lower petition count than what is being submitted. This is an underhanded move to suppress petitions in order to keep this off the ballot. The city has the ability to do the right thing and recognize a significant portion of the city wants this on the ballot and place it on the ballot themselves but they seem to be trying an end run in hopes they won’t have to put it on the ballot – how sad when your elected officials use sleazy legal tactics to subvert the will of its residents.

  3. […] that strange point of view is what the City of Palm Bay is putting forth in their lawsuit against Lori Scott as the Brevard County Supervisor of Elections. The City is saying, without any […]

  4. Brad says:

    In Count II, paragraph 48, page 7 of the City’s complaint, the City Attorney declares “Section 166.031 Florida Statutes (2018), Charter amendments, does not require any specific form.” If so, why did the City require the petition group to purchase their forms?

    • AAfterwit says:


      Thank you for the comment.

      The City is saying that the Supervisor of Elections cannot require a certain form and they are right. This is because the SOE has, by State law, has nothing to do with the City’s own rules. If the City wants only name and address on the signature form, they can do that because they and they alone are responsible for the process.

      The SOE has nothing to do with the City’s forms or processes until the City asks them to get involved. At that point the SOE can impose whatever rules they need to make their verification process work.

      The City is saying that they can demand the SOE act the way they want and do what the City wants. The SOE is saying there is no law on the books that requires us to do that.

      Still, we think that no matter how this turns out, the question that has yet to be answered is “why did the City Clerk and the City Attorney lie to the petition group?” Furthermore, why wasn’t the Mayor aware of the problems?

      We think those are valid questions that the City must answer.

      A. Afterwit.