On June 17, a Florida state court trial judge ruled that a particular write-in candidate is a “real” candidate, and therefore his existence as a candidate cannot be ignored. See this story. Florida’s Constitution says that when all the candidates for a particular office, including write-in candidates in the general election, are from the same party, then all voters, and not just members of that party, can vote in the primary for that office.
In this case, and several previous cases over the same issue, proponents of letting all voters vote in the primary for a particular office say that the write-in candidate only filed in order to keep the primary closed, and that the motives of the write-in candidate should be taken into consideration. But the Florida Supreme Court earlier this year, and both federal and state courts in the past, have repeatedly ruled that the motives of the write-in candidate cannot be taken into consideration.
The real problem in Florida is that over half of all partisan offices only have one candidate on the general election ballot. This is because Florida filing fees are so unreasonably high. Yet no one in Florida ever seems to notice or care that Florida’s fees stifle free elections. The fees are 6% of the annual salary, which means over $10,000 for Congress. If the filing fees were far lower, the number of general election races with only one candidate on the ballot would be far fewer.
Another point the media misses is that under the U.S. Supreme Court opinion California Democratic Party v Jones, a party has a freedom of association right to avoid having its nominees chosen by members of other parties, so even if the write-in issue were resolved the other way, the party with the primary could insist that its primary not be opened up to all votes.