MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – Former Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez is back in government, after beating former South Miami mayor Julio Robaina in Tuesday’s special election, 53-47%. The win was kept secret until late Thursday afternoon, when the 3rd District Court of Appeals tossed out a lawsuit challenging the vote. The results were suppressed to give the court time to decide.
The Court of Appeals heard the case of Ricardo Corona, who sued Miami-Dade County saying he qualified for the race, even though he was declared ineligible for failing to meet the qualifying deadline.
Corona had a hearing before Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge William Thomas the day before the election, and the judge ruled he should have a right to argue his point. He allowed voters to cast ballots in Tuesday’s election, but ordered them kept secret until the courts could sort it all out.
Thursday, the three-member Court of Appeals panel dismissed Corona’s claim, with prejudice. In legal terms, that means he can’t refile the same claim again.
Corona said that he, along with others, were not give enough time to file and run in the election.
“First of all, the only two people that qualify for the race that I’m talking about are these two individuals and they were there and here are the papers stamped a month and two months before,” Corona said.
Corona says he arrived at elections headquarters and filed his documents at 4:58 p.m. on April 14, two minutes before the deadline. An elections worker told Corona that one of his forms was incorrect, and sent him to the lobby to fill out the correct form. Corona says by the time he submitted the correct form, it was stamped at 5:22 p.m., 22 minutes past the deadline.
Corona first sued to have his name included on the ballot. His lawsuit was thrown out, but Judge Thomas did mention that the time period in which potential candidates could file the necessary paperwork was much too short. That’s when Corona filed suit again, and Judge Thomas sided with him.
With the court ruling in hand, the way has been cleared for Suarez to be sworn in as the new district 7 commissioner Friday, along with former State Representative Esteban Bovo, who was elected to fill the District 13 seat vacated when voters recalled former commissioner Natacha Seijas.
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