Secretary of State Ken Detzner has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by state Rep. Reggie Fullwood, a Jacksonville Democrat who did not qualify for this fall’s elections because of errors by notaries public.
Fullwood, who would have been unopposed in seeking re-election in House District 13, filed the lawsuit July 29 in Leon County circuit court. It contended that the state’s decision against allowing Fullwood to qualify was improper. But in a response last week, attorneys for Detzner said the state couldn’t accept the incomplete qualifying paperwork.
“Despite petitioner’s [Fullwood’s] contention to the contrary, the secretary does not have a ministerial duty to accept facially incomplete items as complete,” the response said. “Nor does the secretary have the authority, much less a ministerial duty, to judge whether a candidate has substantially complied with the qualifying statute. The petition should therefore be denied and this action dismissed.”
The dispute stems from Fullwood submitting a form June 19 to elections officials that did not have a notary’s required signature. After being told of the error, he submitted a revised form the next day — the final day of qualifying for this year’s elections — but a notary failed to make a required check mark on part of the form. Court documents indicate the lawsuit focuses on the error involving the lack of a signature. With no candidates qualifying in House District 13, a special election is expected to be held later.