COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - A candidate for Florida attorney general filed an elections complaint with the state Tuesday against Collier County Elections Supervisor Jennifer Edwards.
The complaint stems from a candidate forum held by a Golden Gate civics groups and the NAACP last Tuesday, during which Libertarian Bill Wohlsifer was left off the mock ballot. The candidate stated, in his complaint, the exclusion violated state statute and amounts to steering.
Wohlsifer volunteer Jo Vacarrino was confused when she showed up to the forum to stump for her candidate. And she tells FOX 4 she questioned elections officials at the site.
"I asked her why would you only have 3 of the 4 candidates in the attorney general race? There was Pam Bondi. There were the 2 democrats. And they excluded Bill Wohlsifer," Vaccarino recalled. "She told me that the forum organizers would be the ones to decide who would go on the ballot."
A practice the Collier County Elections Qualifying Officer, Dave Carpenter, confirmed to FOX 4.
And Carpenter added this statement when asked by reporter Liza Fernandez how a qualified candidate could be left off the ballot at a mock election overseen by the county.
'I"m sure they're upset by it. if I had a candidate whose name was left off, I'd be upset too. But it was just a straw ballot," said Carpenter.
Candidate Wohlsifer doesn't see it that way, adding in his complaint that the elections supervisor violated state statute by accepting payment from the Golden Gate civics groups to conduct the straw poll, which left his name off the ballot and influencing the outcome of his race.
"Because you're contracted for this, you don't think the election office is held to the requirements of that statute," the reporter asked of Carpenter.
"I"m not certain the statutes apply," Carpenter answered.
Elections Supervisor Jennifer Edwards told reporter Liza Fernandez this was a community event and not official business over the phone before the complaint had been filed.
The state will now decide, but Vaccarino is certain some damage has been done.
"If the supervisor of elections is there, then all candidates that are going to be on the ballot for November should be on that poll," she said.