MIAMI (CBS4) – Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez filed a court challenge Friday to try and derail the recall election he faces March 15th. That election is fueled by voter anger over a property tax rate hike, anger that was then funneled into an organized recall effort led by auto tycoon Norman Braman. Alvarez’s legal team is arguing the recall petitions are riddled with problems.
Among them: complaints that some of those who circulated petitions were paid in violation of Florida law; other complaints that the petitions are rife with sloppy or misplaced notary signatures.
Nearly 100,000 recall signatures from registered voters were certified. That’s almost twice the number needed to move ahead with a recall election.
The county clerk, Harvey Ruvin, does not claim to know what did or did not happen before all those petitions arrived in his office, but he says a painstaking process was followed to certify those signatures after they arrived. Ruvin told reporters, “I am fully confident that we did that in a professional, meticulous manner.”
Mayor Alvarez says he will abide by the will of the people but issued a statement Friday regarding his legal challenge.
His statement read: “As the people of Miami-Dade County know all too well, there is nothing more sacred in our democracy than a fair and honest electoral process. Unfortunately, in recent weeks, that process has been called into question in the form of countless reports of a flawed, paid signature-gathering effort that cut too many corners and may have violated the law. This process must be bigger than any individual or individuals. Election laws are in place to protect the voice of the people, and we cannot allow them to be compromised. We must send a message that our process is not for sale. That is why I have asked the courts to step in and ensure the integrity of the process.”
The legal battle intensifies as the mid-March recall election draws nearer with its pivotal political stakes.