04 May 2005

Rod Smith fixes flawed election law

Democrats are still fuming over the partisan witch hunt in Orlando that landed Mayor Buddy Dyer in jail and led to his suspension by the governor. The prosecution, which was overseen by State Attorney Brad King who was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to investigate Dyer and others, came to an end last month and Mayor Dyer was returned to office. Democrats and Republicans agreed that the law that King used as the basis of his prosecution was vaguely written, and yesterday Senator Rod Smith (D-Gainesville) proposed language that would fix it.

Senator Smith, who is a Democratic candidate for governor, proposed an amendment to Senate Bill 2176 which would require a prosecutor to prove a candidate intentionally hired someone to commit fraud when collecting absentee ballots. Smith said, "You'd have to have the intent to hire someone who is going to alter, modify or do something wrong. Hiring somebody in and of itself to do something is just simply not unlawful."

In the case of Dyer, he was found to have hired an individual during his reelection campaign who collected absentee ballots in the African American community. No allegation of fraud was ever made. It was also noted that Republican Senator Mel Martinez and Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood, a Bush appointee, had also committed the same act as Dyer.


Anonymous tdog said...

I'm glad that one Dem finally stood up for Buddy. Its about time. It sucks that the Dem Party turned its back on Buddy when times were tough. I think Smith did a good thing though.

2:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tdog makes a good point, but I don't think that Smith did enough. He did a lot more than Maddox, Davis, or any other Democrat in the state (who abandoned Buddy during tough times), so Smith does deserve a little credit.

6:16:00 PM  
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