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Calling Their Tactic “Legal but Immoral,” Jim O’Connell Asks Flagler’s Write-Ins to Withdraw

| June 12, 2012

Jim O'Connell served on the Flagler County Commission from 2004 to 2008. (© FlaglerLive)

Four write-in candidates have qualified to run in four separate local election contests: the races for Flagler County sheriff, clerk of court, and two county commission seats. Unlike Republican, Democratic or Independent candidates, write-in candidates don’t have to turn in hundreds of petitions to qualify, or pay the thousands of dollars required to qualify absent petitions. Write-in candidates names will not appear on any ballot. Only a line appears in their chosen race, where voters may write in the name if they so choose. And write-ins may not run in primaries.

Yet even though they have no presence on the ballot, and no right to run in a primary election, write-ins can have a disproportionate influence on a primary by shutting out most voters from casting a ballot, as is the case in two races in Flagler County. Here’s how it works: when a primary race is contested exclusively by members of one party, that primary, by Florida law, is then open to all voters–Republicans, Democrats, Independents, minor parties–because the primary actually decides the winner regardless. Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1998 to ensure that such open primaries be held so that voters aren’t disenfranchised.

But when a write-in files to run in such a race, the primary is automatically “closed,” because that write-in will theoretically be contesting the race with the primary’s winner in the general election. Theoretically, because in many cases in Florida, write-in candidates drop out before the general election, their work already done: the write-in strategy is used specifically to close a primary and prevent voters from other parties, or independents, from voting. (For complete background on the strategy, see this story.)

That’s the case in two races in Flagler’s elections: the clerk of court race, and a county commission race. The clerk of court race is being contested by incumbent Gail Wadsworth and Ken Mazzie. Both are Republicans. The county commission District 1 race is being contested by incumbent Alan Peterson and Charlie Ericksen. Both are Republicans. Normally, in both those races, all registered voters would get to cast a ballot in the Aug. 14 primary. But in each race, a write-in candidate has filed to run: Daniel J. Bozza in the county commission race, Paulette Dunkel in the clerk of court race. (Two other write-ins in local races won’t materially affect the outcomes of those primaries because those races have both Democrats and Republicans running.) The write-in strategy appears to be the work of a little-known hard-right group with about 100 members called the Ronald Reagan Republican Assemblies of Florida, which is backing Ericksen and Wadsworth (both are members of the group). By locking out Democrats and Independents from those races, the group is ensuring that moderating votes that might be cast for Peterson or Mazzie aren’t cast.

Jim O’Connell, who served on the Flagler County Commission from 2004 to 2008, wrote the brief open letter below, asking write-in candidates to withdraw. While that window is closing fast, it’s still open: a Flagler County Supervisor of Elections official said the state has yet to certify the names for the election. It has until Friday to do so, but may do so before then, giving any candidate (including write-ins) a chance to withdraw (in writing and in person at the supervisor of elections office).

I am disappointed. Your tactic to use the current Florida law that allows a write-in candidate, for the purpose of closing the primary election to one party voters only, is a wrong tactic. To my knowledge it has never been utilized against any candidate of any party in Flagler County. When it was used in the replacement of Florida Senator Tony Hill I was disappointed.

I suspect you know you have little or no possibility of being elected to the local office. By using this legal, but immoral, tactic you are deliberately disenfranchising of 40,000 Flagler County voters who are registered as Democrats, Independents, or some other minor political party.

While your actions may be legal, they are not ethical or fair. By your wholesale departure from the standard of doing what is right, 40,000 Flagler voters will be denied their right to vote.

I respectfully ask that you reconsider your motives and withdraw from the race.

Jim O’Connell, Former Chairman,
Flagler County Board of County Commissioners

Jim O’Connell can be reached by email here.

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57 Responses for “Calling Their Tactic “Legal but Immoral,” Jim O’Connell Asks Flagler’s Write-Ins to Withdraw”

  1. some guy says:

    i kinda like the “tactic” if the ds wanted a candidate to vote for MAYBE they should have put one up.

    • Jim says:

      It’s not about the D’s not vetting a candidate, if you read the article you would see that with the inclusion of the write-ins it would no longer be open to ALL VOTERS – Republicans, Democrats, Independents and minor parties. It should also be noted that O’Connell is a conservative who’s voicing his opposition to members of a conservative political group, he’s not exactly falling in lockstep with his conservative colleagues on this issue. I applaud him.

  2. Will says:

    Good for former Commissioner O’Connell. He has demonstrated again his consistent attention to ethical conduct in government.

    Right now this tactic seems to help one wing of the Republican party. In other parts of the state, Democrats have used the tactic too. It’s easy to like the tactic if “your” candidate might benefit, however it’s not right to allow little technical ploys to disrupt an election procedure which is based in the Florida Constitution for the greater good.

    I hope all four of the “write ins” will gracefully withdraw.

  3. Kip Durocher says:

    Just another example of the complete failure of the political system of the United States of America.
    We end up with dogmatic wackos, crony banksters, neophyte do-gooder failures in over their head and idiots running all levels of government.
    All of them believing they are doing god’s work and are totally right and forgiven.
    The American system is corrupt and broken ~ from city hall to the White House and everything in between. It is time for a move to some new form of elected representative government.
    The two major parties have rigged the game in their favor and are owned completely by the 1% ~ it will probably necessitate some form of insurrection.
    At the rate America is being fleeced it will be a 3rd tier country with the bomb in 30 years or so.

  4. tulip says:

    Thank you very much Jim for doing this article. I’m sure you know how some of us feel. Some people just don’t “get it”.

    You have written this very clearly and have answered some questions that were asked of some posters who never answered them.

    I am afraid a lot of Independent voters in particular are going to get a rude awakening after July 16 if they don’t pay attention and think about what’s been done in this election.

  5. tulip says:

    Ericksen and Wadsworth are members of the Ronald Reagan Club and it’s this particular club that has caused the problems. If these candidates really didn’t want this done, it probably wouldn’t have happened, as I believe they could have said NOT to do it to the write-in- candidates.

  6. Will says:

    Maybe Mr. Ericksen and Ms. Wadsworth could take a leave of absence from the local Ronald Reagan Assembly until after November, or even resign.

    Why mingle with extremists if you want votes from the wider electorate?

    I happen to like both candidates. I guess they have to ask whether they would lose or gain more votes by disassociating themselves from the RRA. (I have heard that President Reagan is rolling in his grave thinking of some of the folks claiming his mantle.)

  7. Linda H. says:

    Witch hunt going on, I see. And now the Tea Party, who supported Jason DeLorenzo, are stepping forward to criticize Republicans?

    Oh my… Palm Coast has some VERY upset RINOs.

    Jim, I love this. Especially coming from the Tea Party board member who tells us most of his political support comes from Democrats.

    Seriously! The pot is calling the kettle black.

    Jim, Gosh, I guess we all missed that part of our civics class where it describes a Republican Primary.

    Will, we are not extremists, we are REPUBLICANS. That is a concept foreign to many of our elected officials and candidates here in Palm Coast who cover all bases by campaigning for both sides, sound familiar Mr. Peterson?

  8. Robert Lewis says:

    Linda H-

    You are the most unreasonable person to reason with. In all of your previous post, you constantly demean any efforts to speak out against your group. Your post are biased and inconsistent with moral behavior.

    All of the recent articles have persuaded me to cast my vote for anyone else but those associated with your group. You have been the greatest asset in persuaing me the other way. Simpliy because of your negative, harsh and intolerant attitude of others.

    How can I as a good Republican who supported great minds like Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush support a group as like yours. Your message has high jacked the fundamental beliefs of the Republican Party for your own personal agenda. I have warned in other threads to be careful of how you represent your group. Since there are so many like me that we’re on the fence so to speak. You had the power to gain our support. Instead your constant response of negatively has pushed me away.

    While I do not agree with your beliefs or opinions, I respect your right to express them. I believe we as Americans need to express that right when things are not right. Ms. Linda, I hope that you can respect my right to express my dissatisfaction of your behavior and those you represent.

    Behavior like this further divides the republican party. This reminds me of the election of Taft, Roosevelt and Wilson. I hope that the end result is not the same.

    • Linda H. says:

      Mr. Lewis, Flagler Live would not allow any demeaning comments. Clearly we have a difference of opinion, which I respect your right to have.

      You may disagree with this policy, but Florida is a two party state. You must register as a Republican or Democrat in order to be guaranteed the opportunity to vote in the primary for each party.

      For anyone to call me or anyone else immoral for this policy is taking things a bit too far. To me, I am not the one being unreasonable here. Rest assured, that was not my intent.

      I am objecting strenously to my morality being questioned. If you want to vote against these candidates, please vote against them. That is your right.

      What I’m asking you not to do is to slander them. If that makes me most unreasonable, then so be it.

      [A quick clarifications on the parameters of the demeaning: comments where a commenter is individually attacked or unreasonably criticized are not permitted, and should any such comments get through, as some inevitably do, by all means, let us know and we’ll have another look. Mr. Lewis’s comment in this thread was allowed because while it was critical of Linda, the criticism was focused on her posts and measured, especially in the context of what followed: he was explaining what led him to think as he does, and Linda’s posts, it appears, influenced him. Lewis’s history of measured comments also gives him greater latitude. The reference to moral behavior is on the edge, but the overall tone of the comment ascribes it to the sort of morality O’Connell was referring to. A second point: you’ll notice in this thread that John Boy’s comment was approved, however harshly it describes an encounter with a political group. John Boy is not attacking a commenter but illustrating an ongoing issue, without naming names. Not that naming names is on its face disallowed. Again, it’s a matter of context: In political threads, the bar is much lower when politicians are the subject of a story, or when politicians in general, or a party in general, are being attacked. Politicians as public figures, like their parties, can be demeaned up to a point. They’re in a demeaning business, not at a Stuart Smalley seminar.–FL]

      • bq says:

        Hey why dont we all just vote for the write in candidates, that will really mess up ther day!

      • Linda H. says:

        John Boy is making false accusations, which we can prove if he/she wants to come forward with the day and location. If he dos that, we can locate the person who was at his door.

        All of this is recorded and can be tracked.

        We do not allow people like this in the organization, nor would we EVER. Bigotry of ANY KIND is not tolerated.

        Flagler Live, am I understanding you to say that Democrats and Independents have the right to decide who the Republican candidate will be?

        Because if that is the case, we disagee. And I don’t believe that makes me immoral. All may vote in the general.

        Thank you for the opportunity to express our points here.

        • Joe A. says:

          Linda –

          The reason everyone is up in arms and angry is because your group blocked everyone else right to vote. We both known the write in candidates are not running because it is their intention to serve, rather to ensure it is a closed primary.

          These elections were essentially not vying for the party nomination, rather they were seeking the office directly. These were at large elections taking place on Primary Day. The write in candidates are shams from your Ronald Regan Assembly.

          If your organization left well enough alone and played fair, all would have been fine. For example, now that Abbey Romaine joined the race as an NPA, that District 2 race really is now a Republican Primary. In the other races, they are NOT PRIMARIES. They are AT LARGE elections because no other party put up a candidate.

          The Editor here usually moderates my comments… and he and I have philosophical differences. However, I must side with him on this case. To answer your question, YES the voters have a right to decide who the candidates should be. In the races where there is no other opposition, it is NOT a TRUE Primary.

          It does not matter how many words are twisted or how many different angles are presented to justify this act. The reality is there were credible candidates from the Republican Party seeking the respective offices. In an effort to prevent any Non-Republican from voting in these elections which should have been At Large Elections, the Ronald Reagan Assembly has run “seat warmer” candidates.

          The write in candidates are Officers or Family Members of Officers of the Ronald Reagan Assembly. Those are the facts. Those are what the voters will see.

          I believe this will have a negative affect on your groups elections. I believe by creating an inequitable the playing field, the flood gates have been opened where more people will now re-register as Republicans and vote in this primary.

          Honesty and integrity has been compromised by the political aspirations of a few whom wish to become a political machine. I am sure if Ronald Reagan was here today (I know you worked for him), he would express his extreme disappointment in this type of behavior.

          My hats are off to Ms. Donna Heiss and Mr. Jim O’Connell who are the whistle blowers and offer the voters a reasonable opinion.

          • Linda H. says:

            Is everyone up in arms? I wasnt’ aware of that. If they are, they are placing the blame on the wrong people. It should be on themselves.

            Joe A., the Ronald Reagan group did not field these candidates as write ins. Let us be clear about that. Some are also members of other local clubs as well. That seems to be the underlying theme here and it is incorrect. I’d say anybody in these races is being slandered by yourself, others here and the political “machine” you already have in office, from what I am seeing.

            Also, I did not work for Ronald Reagan. I had links to the family and his campaign through my employers. My views are my views and we disagree.

            I would suggest to anyone voting in this election to ask yourselves if those who have held office here have made things better or worse for Palm Coast. Know what they have done and what they intend to do. Make these decisions for yourselves. Be informed, and most of all, please show up and vote. That is the most important thing you can do.

            • Joe A. says:


              In a previous thread you stated:
              :Linda H. says:
              May 22, 2012 at 5:53 pm

              Joe A., President Ronald Reagan was a strong fiscal conservative who did not support or campaign for Democrat candidates once he changed his party affiliation. He was also a strong believer in the laws of this land. I knew his staff quite well and worked for his former general council in Washington. :

              Flip flopping on the facts?

              Let me post a hypothetical situation to you. All the candidates running are also members of the Elks Lodge, does that mean the Elks Lodge is supporting the candidates? NO

              Your write in candidates are all officers or in 1 case, the spouse of one of your Vice Presidents. Your group has exploited the law for your own personal and political gain. No matter how you attempt to justify it. The RRAFL is WRONG

  9. John Boy says:

    The next Ronald Reagan Republican to knock on my door will get a boot us his or her ass. I had a husband and wife come to my house soliciting support. They where the most bigoted, ideological idiots I ever met. After they left, I said to my wife they where almost sub human in their thoughts and propaganda. The wife actually use the “N” word to describe a Black Candidate but within 30 seconds she was praising Alan West.

  10. tulip says:

    @ Will Too late for them to resign, it’s already known that they’ve allowed this to occur. If they really were against it, they would’ve resigned as soon as the Wri’s got on board.

  11. Donna Heiss says:

    Thank you Mr. O’Connell. Very well written and easily understood.

    I have the Ronald Reagan Republican Assemblies of Florida, Inc. informational pamphlet in front of me. It states under, “Our Principles” and I quote, “We hold to principle over politics”
    “The rights and privileges of our Nation belong to its citizens.”

    As Mr. O’Connell so clearly defines, these rights and privileges have been denied to 40,000 citizens by the Ronald Reagan Republican Club. The very citizens the Ronald Reagan Club claims to protect the rights of, according to their literature. How can anyone who is an American condone what this club has done?

    All Americans are equal and in my opinion to deny the right or privilege of any citizen to vote by any group is completely unethical, manipulative, immoral and corrupt..

  12. some guy says:

    i just dont get why some are upset that the Rs are using rules on the books to keep its primary a primary not a General election. I do get the point that as there is only a r primary this all but becomes the general elction. But people should be made but at the Ds for not haveing a candidate not the Rs for doing all they can to pick who they wish to run/win.

  13. palmcoaster says:

    I do not have any problems with write ins…Should be plenty of voters to pick the favorite candidate. I remember well Mr. O’Connell back in 2004 being one of seating BOCC witch hunting our then Sheriff Mr. Jim Manfre and wasting left and right our hard earned tax payers funds with BOCC legal team against then Sheriff Manfre over a calendar and other alleged frivolous reasons. Meanwhile Fire Departments and other law enforcement entities make community calendars in Florida, that are very informative to the people they serve without having their BOCC scorning them. And who was Mr. O’Connell peer in the BOCC directing that attack against a good sheriff..?, Commissioner Pat McGuire Police Benevolent boss and later accused and in prison for child abuse. We live in a democratic republic and who are the few of us, to deem immoral any right of a citizen to be a write in candidate, Mr. Oconnell? Rinos and no rinos in this county we need to vote for the person that will really represent us, no matter the party! Enough of partisan wars, that keep sinking our USA.

  14. palmcoaster says:

    After all Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski won her seat as a write-in!! So what is your problem Mr. O’Connell with that? Lisa a Republican have won my admiration after being defeated in the primaries by a Tea Party guy, went on to defeat him big time as a write in. So the party didn’t win there but “the people did”. Please, all that will be voting for the write-in candidate, make sure you spell their names correctly as they will not be shown in the ballot but just a line to fill in. Otherwise, then, the Board of Elections will deem your vote invalid.

    Mr. O’Connell not every local resident wishing to run for office here, can afford the time and money to go around asking for the amount of qualifying signatures and if they can’t gather them, neither can’t afford the thousands of dollars to be paid to qualify. Money is the name of the game in election times unfortunately.
    I give all my sincere respect to all those write ins, nothing immoral regarding your decision, good for your courage, not all should be ruled by $$$!

  15. Will says:

    Palmcoaster – please do not tarnish Mr. O’Connell by associating him with Pat McGuire’s dismal record.

  16. Will says:

    In a democratic society, the right to vote should be simple and straightforward. Voting must have rules available to and understandable for all.

    This write-in situation is a gimmick – a loophole – in what should be a common sense procedure, whether it’s used by one party or another. This deviates from a simple procedure which could be explained to an eighth grade civics class. It’s wrong because it confuses all but the most devoted political junkie, and it dissuades citizens from voting, and thus it can skew an election.

    The result of disenfranchisement is wrong too, but the injustice starts several steps before that.

    Former Commissioner O’Connell is correct in his request.

  17. tulip says:

    @ Palmcoaster—-You[re starting to get off topic with your post. Over 16,000 Independents are being denied and also a fair number of Democrats who, believe it or not, will vote for a Rep once in awhile, and vice versa. I bet if you were one of the ones being shut out from voting in 3 races there would be a really long complaining post from you. I don’t know what your party affiliation is and I don’t care. The point is that this group has done some unethical manipulation of a lot of voters, and I would feel that way whether it was a Republican or Democrat race. Let the candidates do their campaigning without interference and let the voters decide who wins in a fair way.

    This primary will decide the winners of these 3 races, as there will be no general election for them. Also that’s 16,000+ potential votes that are being denied the Ronald Reagan candidates as well as the non member candidates—–maybe they should’ve thought of that.

  18. Jim O'Connell says:

    A few people told me to look at the comments so I have I will only comment on the comments by ‘palmcoaster’.
    I wasn’t in office when the Manfre calendar issue was an issue. Additionally, Pat McGuire was not my PEER he was my opponent.
    By the way READ my letter again. I NEVER mentioned the RRA. I NEVER blamed this on the other candidates. I know Charlie, Alan, Ken and Gail, the ones effected by this. Please vote for the one you think is the best to represent you. Do not blame them for the actions of others.
    Last comment- I have no problem with WRi candidates unless they are only to subvert the voting rights of valid voters.

  19. tulip says:

    District 2 Frank Meeker/McDonald race has a WRI too.

  20. Just Do It says:

    Everyone register as a republican, and vote, and no one will be left out.

  21. Maryjoe says:

    Why am I confused? All that happens is a primary is a primary. Then EVERYONE gets to vote in the general election for whoever made it through the primary for that particular party. No one is disenfranchised. The republicans get to vote on who they would like to be their candidate and the democrats get to vote on theirs, then the whole community gets to vote for who ever, from whatever party in the general election. I see nothing immoral about it… if you think it’s immoral then start fighting to change the law. Why in heavens name should a democrat or independent be able to influence who the republicans vote to represent them and the same for republicans or independents influencing the democrat vote? You want to do that then join a party. You’re disenfranchised by your own choice to not belong to a party. BUT…you DO get to go to the general election and vote for which ever party person you want, including your own. Gee, what a concept! :)

  22. palmcoaster says:

    @Jim O’Connell. When I referred to Mr. McGuire as your peer only meant him being also a County Commissioner and you are correct, he was the opponent that you defeated in August 2004, as he had some very black clouds approaching from his horizon. Nevertheless as the following historical reports in the Brechner. org attest, you as a new elected county commissioner got along with your BOCC peers undermining actions against Sheriff Manfre in 2005, even after his narrow defeat. Please see next:

    July 2004: The Flagler County Commission sued Sheriff Jim Manfre for access to Public Records that detail the costs of calendars and holiday greeting cards sent to residents of Bunnell. Manfre allegedly failed to provide access to the records, but disputes that the calendar is an election year political issue, not a violation of the Sunshine Law.

    “January 2005: Complying with a circuit judge’s ruling, Flagler County Sheriff’s Office officials opened their computers to a public records search. The records in question detailed the production and distribution of calendars and greeting cards. (Continuation of July 2004 story.)”

    Later on the new hired county Manager Coffey had some explaining to the public regarding several millions “overspent” by the county clerk on the justice center…we never heard back the results of that audit though we were forced to pay for it. In spite of it, Gail got her way in 2010 when she asked for an increase of $120,000 for her department. Money’s that were not even in the county budget. But she was approved with flying colors anyway.

    Gail W. Court Clerk is now the incumbent, that you so ferociously defend by calling “immoral tactics” the filing of those write in candidates.

    Why I am never a great fun of our BOCC after all these years is: because they actively witch hunt any elected constitutional official that do no abide by the elite special interest, they cover up for some when they feel like as shown above, they waste our taxes suing some of our constitutional officials over frivolous reasons and associate to undermine them like again is happening now, since 2004, with our SOE. The waste of our hard earned taxes supersedes, the misuse of our funds by any of the county cities and when they want more green blood from us they just raise our mileage. When Palmcoasters elect you to office, you guys change and turn around and bite the hand that feeds you and elected you.

    • Think first, act second says:

      palmcoaster, the audit you refer to in your fourth paragraph, is that this
      REPORT NO. 2009-194, APRIL 2009
      FLAGLER COUNTY GOVERNMENT CENTER CAPITAL PROJECT AND OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS audit that you refer to. It is readily available on line for you to view the results you are looking for, but as clarification I believe it was the county commissioners who overspent this money through lack of oversight, not the clerk of courts. As clarification to you also, Mr. O’Connell did not run for reelection in 2008 and was not on the board in 2010 when you claim the Clerk got her way with more money. In fact in reading the proceedings of the meeting, it was Mr. Peterson, Mr. O’Connell’s replacement on the BOCC who took Ms. Wadsworth to task over this expense and cut her request to 1/2 of what she asked for.
      Oh, also, Ms. Weeks has not been the SOE since 2004, she was elected in 2008 and has never won a reelection and probably will not this year!

  23. Donna Heiss says:

    @Maryjoe. The races in question will be decided in the primary and exclude 40,000 voters that would have a say in general. They no longer have a vote.

    • Linda H. says:

      Donna, where are you coming up with the number of 40,000 since we haven’t had more than about 7,000 vote in each of the last two elections?

      In order to feel disenfranchised, they’d have to be interested in voting first. And if I were interested in voting in a Republican primary in a two party state, I’d make sure I was a registered Republican. It is an opportunity we all had when we registered to vote here in Palm Coast.

      Does your husband Ken Mazzie, candidate running against Gail Wadsworth do any of his own campaigning?

      Also, he ran as a Democrat last time and lost. Is there a reason he is running as a Republican now? I meant to ask him this question and never got the chance.

  24. tulip says:

    @Maryjoe the races being talked about WILL BE DECIDED primary night.

  25. Law Dawg says:

    Could be on the way to “non-partisan” elections here. Time to change to a “Home Rule” charter form of gov’t. See Volusia County for example.

    • Think first, act second says:

      LawDawg, charter government was promoted to the county commission 2 years ago and they had zero interest in establishing a charter committee to write a charter and disenfranchised (as the posters here are saying) 65,000 Flagler County voters by not allowing an up or down vote on this. They feared that they would lose their jobs.

  26. Jim says:

    A lot of readers seem to have overlooked these two sentences that read:

    Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1998 to ensure that such open primaries be held so that voters aren’t disenfranchised.

    But when a write-in files to run in such a race, the primary is automatically “closed,” because that write-in will theoretically be contesting the race with the primary’s winner in the general election.

    For chrissakes people read

  27. palmcoaster says:

    @Think First. Please copy us all in the audit online link for the completed results. Thank you in advance. Wether they throw the ball to each others court or not, was between them both BOCC and Clerk of Court and vice versa the over spent 5 million plus. But in your eyes looks like okay and dandy. You are correct that O’Connell decided not to run in 2008 and is correct also that I never said he was in the BOCC when Gail got her way after asking for more money in 2010. When I mention the current unjustified attacks to our current SOE and I said “again like in 2004” I refer to the same style attacks sustained by then Sheriff Manfre in 2004 NOT SOE in office since that year. Hope made myself clear to you.

  28. Donna Heiss says:

    The complete report is in pdf format on click on the auditor generals report.

  29. palmcoaster says:

    @ Donna Heiss. Thank you for the link Donna. The audit reconfirms that Clerk of Court Gail W. wether herself of employee (doubt will pay an invoice without clerk’s prior approval) paid invoices without previous approval from BOCC Board:
    Finding No. 4: “Deficiencies in internal control over payment processing allowed one Flagler County Clerk
    of the Circuit Court (Clerk) employee to approve invoice payments for the Judicial Center project and also
    process invoices for payment without Board authorization. Also, some capital expenditures were paid
    without adequate supporting documentation and appropriate approval”
    And yet as I am working, had no time to read the whole audit.

  30. palmcoaster says:

    Audit informs that the clerk did not provide a requested public records information regarding this 5 million issue, for over a year as audit reads: Finding No. 10: “According to the County Administrator, as of January 21, 2009, the Clerk had not responded to his public records requests dated January 31, 2008”
    But sure, BOCC did not start a lawsuit against her over the 5 million requested records, like they did in 2004-2005 against our then good Sheriff Jim Manfre over probably few hundreds dollars calendar: July 2004: The Flagler County Commission sued Sheriff Jim Manfre for access to Public Records that detail the costs of calendars and holiday greeting cards sent to residents of Bunnell. Manfre allegedly failed to provide access to the records, but disputes that the calendar is an election year political issue, not a violation of the Sunshine Law. As published in the Brechner report archives.
    Now since 2004, we have again another of our good current constitutional officials, our SOE Mrs Weeks attacked by BOCC in the same unfair style again, for frivolous unjustified motives from the begining and worst in an election year. Where is the BOCC fairness?

  31. Donna Heiss says:

    @ Linda H. Thank you for asking these important questions.

    Question 1. The 40,000 figure comes from the combination of independents and democrats that would have had the right to vote in these deciding elections should they have chosen to. Certainly many simply don’t care, but the fact of the matter remains their right was taken away by WRI’s who have only one goal and that was to close the primary. As I have stated before, these WRI’s have one thing in common. They are either officers or members of The Ronald Reagan Republican Club. Ironic, don’t ya think?

    Question 2. My husband Ken Mazzie, running against Gail W. does all his campaigning. I’m surprised you didn’t know that.

    Question 3. Yes, it is true Ken ran against Gail as a democrat 4 years ago. He is not a politician and hoped the truth (Auditor Generals Report from The State of Florida) would have been published before the general election. It was due for release in Oct. 2008. As you know, it was not published until April 2009. 5 months after the election. Please feel free to check Ken’s voting status(as I am sure you already have) both in NJ and here. He was a republican since the age of 21. He switched to run against Gail in the general election in 2008 to give the Auditor General more time for the truth to be told. The report is now out and the facts are the facts. Gail was a democrat before her run in 2000 for the Clerks position. I imagine you must know that also.

    @ Palmcoaster. You are welcome. If I can be of further assistance, please feel free to ask.

  32. Maryjoe says:

    @ Donna and Tulip…the only reason ANYTHING can be a final decision on Primary night is because there is no one else running from an opposite party. So…if there is no independent that felt they were worthy of the job or no, let’s say for arguments sake Democrat that their party thought was worthy of the job then your party isn’t doing IT’S job and a Republican (which would be decided by registered party voters as to who they feel is the better person for the job) would get in office.
    I don’t understand why anyone is whining. If you want to be voting in primaries and you want things to go to the general election, which in my opinion is the best alternative especially now that our elections will be held when national voting is held and that encourages more of the population here to go to the polls, then make sure you are affiliated with a party and your party puts up a candidate or if you aren’t affiliated with a party, run. And then everyone gets to vote. :) And if you belong to a party that doesn’t put up a candidate or there isn’t an independent that feels they can do a better job…you’ve disenfranchised yourselves…. get involved, get your party involved, participate. Then you don’t have to worry about write ins, although some of them may actually be very viable candidates. If you don’t, then it gets decided for you…and that puts the responsibility right where it belongs.

  33. Will says:

    To repeat an earlier observation in this or other related threads…

    It’s time to make all county elections NON PARTISAN.

    Enough of this bickering among factions of the local parties.

    Not many people can discern much of a philosophical party difference among good candidates locally, whether they’re technically registered as R’s or D’s. Good government, prudence with tax dollars, responsiveness to constituents – those are just common sense.

    Sure, this won’t happen until a local charter government passes – but it’s still a good goal.

    Whether the sheriff or the tax collector or the property assessor is an R or a D doesn’t matter a damn to me!

    • Think first, act second says:

      Maryjoe and Will
      In my opinion you have both hit on the crux of this situation.
      Maryjoe, independents do not vote in a primary generally, they go to the general election. They are only authorized to vote in races where only 1 party has candidates, but with a write in there are more than 1 party with candidates, yes write ins close the primary to party candidates only, independents or NPA cause the race to go to the general election after the party candidate is chosen, aka McDonald/Meeker/Romaine.
      Will, I agree charter government, NPA candidates, such as judges are, are the best option, but you will never get the BOCC to establish one with the current members, they fear for their jobs.
      Ms. Heiss, I have a question about your husbands campaign. He states on his website you directed us to this am to read the auditors report, that “It is time to clean up the mess.” My question is what mess, and how would he clean up this supposed mess?

  34. Donna Heiss says:

    @ Think first. My husband would be more than happy to speak with you regarding the position he is running for and explain first hand how he would accomplish this. He is the CPA, I am not.

    You may contact him through e-mail, or through his web-site. If you prefer to speak with him in person or on the phone, he will accommodate your request.

    Thank you very much for your interest.

  35. Anonymous says:

    @WILL Whether a candidate is a Dem or Rep doesn’t matter to me either. What does matter to me is that many many voters have had their voting privilege taken away by a small group of radicals in order to favor their candidates who belong to this radical club, and no matter what spin they put on it—that’s what they have done and hopefully people will realize this.

  36. BW says:

    The problem in my opinion is the law. Granted, political groups should act in a responsible manner. It’s kind of tough for a any one group to say they are “all for protecting freedom” and then use a loop-hole in the law to block out voters because they feel only one party should be able to vote for their party-affiliated candidates. But the bottom line is that the loop-hole exists and for no good reason. It’s happened twice now to confuse voters and was a contributor to the low turnout for the Mayor election this past year. Since groups are exploiting this loop-hole using write-ins, there definitely should be an effort to lobby the State Government to close that. Likewise, the Democrat presence on the local ballot is almost non-existent and that’s sad. The is tactic can’t be used is both parties are represented on the ballot. The playing field is pretty level with registered democrats and republicans, so the question for me is where are the democrat candidates?

  37. palmcoaster says:

    The political environment is so virulent since 2010, given the extreme conservationist, that maybe some Democrats may wonder if they will expose themselves, families and other innocents, to an attack like the one on Gaby Giffords in Tucson AZ. Or maybe to have their USA nationality in doubt,in a state with a “stand your ground law”?

  38. tulip says:

    The Democratic club here in PC is almost non-existent and the Ronald Reagan Club will probably cause what’s left of the Rep party to die, because everything is so fragmented now and people are just fed up in both parties. The Independent voter count is consistently growing in numbers, but meanwhile the Radical RR club and it’s candidates Ericksen, McDonald and incumbent Wadsworth are trying to take over running Flagler County. People need to pay attention to what’s going on before it’s too late and, after the election are crying “gee, we didn’t know.”

    • Linda H. says:

      Radical, Tulip? The RRRAFL has no candidates in these races. Are some of the candidates members? Yes, just as some are members of the local Republican Clubs. That hardly makes them radical.

      Is there the slightest possibly some incumbents may be defeated? I certainly hope so. Palm Coast has not benefitted from elected officials who sat in office more than a couple of terms.

      In the meantime, how about starting your own clubs instead of complaining about a group of citizens to decided to try and become more actively involved in their local government.

  39. Dorothea says:


    Tulip said, “People need to pay attention to what’s going on before it’s too late and, after the election are crying “gee, we didn’t know.” ”

    You sure have that right. Not only will they SAY that, the same people will whine and bitch on FlaglerLive after the elections are over and the radical rightie candidates have taken over Flagler County.

  40. Jim N says:

    If the RRRAFL has no one in the races as you state Linda, then who do these Write in Candidates represent? I was under the impression that the RRRAFL specifically encouraged these citizens to in fact register as write in candidates, knowing full well that by doing so it would close the primaries to only voters registered as like political parties.

    To me it becomes even more apparent because there isn’t one bit of information from any of the write in’s that I have seen which even discusses their ideas, platforms, or anything that would encourage anyone to actually vote for them.

    The idea of having a write in candidate, I felt was to ensure that if someone really wanted to hold an office they could do so without belonging to a political party, however because of the same law now and the RRRAFL disgraceful sham in having write in’s who don’t even try to get elected, it is obvious to me that they have in fact legally pulled a fast one. The end result is that likely there will be a change in the law or proposed changes and ultimately more rules will be put in place making it even harder for someone to run for office who does not have a money war chest to try and get elected.

    I think the RRRAFL should feel ashamed of themselves. Just because you can legally do something, does not mean it is the right thing to do.

    • Linda H. says:

      Jim, this question has been answered over and over again, so I will say it again. The RRR did not field these write in candidates. You will have to ask the candidates. The News Journal had an interview with one of the candidates, I believe.

  41. tulip says:

    @JIM N Very well said, and very true. It’s good to see that people can see through the RR “spin” on this issue.

  42. Donna Heiss says:

    @Linda H. All the WRI’s are either officers or member of the Ronald Reagan Republican Club.

    Lets take for example the Clerk of Court race. Mazzie/ Wadsworth with a WRI of 3rd Vice President of the Ronald Reagan Republican Club Pauline Dunkel. When Mrs. Dunkel was asked by a local paper, “what prompted her to run?” This is what she said and I quote, ” I don’t know, she said. ” I just decided to run”. I don’t buy that for half a second. Who says that? I’ll tell you, someone who was told to close the primary. She has to do nothing, her job is already done. Wadsworth will get the endorsement of the Ronald Reagan Republican club, because Mazzie wishes nothing to do with a club that denied 40,000 voters their right. A public servant is there to do just that. Serve the public. ALL OF THE PUBLIC, regardless of party affiliation.

    I don’t know how anyone can condone how this “club” is operating.

  43. Joe A. says:

    @ Jim N – well said sir.

    @ Linda H -Linda:

    In a previous thread you stated:
    :Linda H. says:
    May 22, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Joe A., President Ronald Reagan was a strong fiscal conservative who did not support or campaign for Democrat candidates once he changed his party affiliation. He was also a strong believer in the laws of this land. I knew his staff quite well and worked for his former general council in Washington. :

    Flip flopping on the facts? Now your saying you never worked for them.

    Let me post a hypothetical situation to you. All the candidates running are also members of the Elks Lodge, does that mean the Elks Lodge is supporting the candidates? NO

    Your write in candidates are all officers or in 1 case, the spouse of one of your Vice Presidents. Your group has exploited the law for your own personal and political gain. No matter how you attempt to justify it. The RRAFL is WRONG

    • Linda H. says:

      Joe A. I imagine the real problem here is that many in the RRRAFL will not support your candidate. You could have used the logic that this candidate is being supported by the members of the IAC and that would have been more correct.

      Nobody is trying to justify anything here. I said you would need to talk to the candidates. You sir are assisting one candidate of your own, is that not correct?

      I said I worked WITH.

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