Write-in Candidates Closing Primary Elections

Jul 16, 2014

Credit Alex Lee via Wikimedia Creative Commons

In 1998, Florida voters approved an amendment to the state constitution intended to open up primary elections to all voters when the candidates in a given race are all from the same political party. In 2000, then-Secretary of State Katherine Harris wrote a Division of Elections opinion stating that if a write-in candidate qualifies for the general election, the primary must remain closed to the voters of that party.

We’ll explore how this loophole in Florida’s ‘open primary’ rule could impact Florida House races in the 2014 election, including the contest for Cape Coral’s state House District 77 seat currently held by Rep. Dane Eagle-R, and previous legislative efforts to end the practice and keep such primary elections open to voters of all parties.


Dave Aronberg, State Attorney, 15th Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County and Former state Senator

Roger Green, Ph.D. Professor of Political Science at Florida Gulf Coast University

Deirdre Macnab, President, League of Women Voters of Florida

Betty Parker, “Parker on Politics” columnist for the News-Press