Editor: In the Feb. 3-9 edition of the Beach Beacon, Doreen Moore, candidate for mayor of Madeira Beach, states that she feels the candidates who did not notify the city of their acceptance of their nomination should not be allowed to have their name on the ballot in March. Unfortunately, 60 percent of the candidates did not submit this letter, because it was not on the required documents list provided by the city clerk. I feel that removing these candidates’ names from the ballot is contrary to the intent of Article III of the Madeira Beach City Charter and will take the decision away from the voters of Madeira Beach.
The paragraph in question is in Article III of the city charter (Elections). It states: “Any person placed in nomination as herinbefore provided shall have his/her name placed on the ballot if, within (5) working days after notification to him/her by the city clerk, he/she shall have filed with said city clerk, a written acceptance of nomination, and all other required documents.” This wording is vague at best for it does not say notification of “what” by the city clerk. It is a poorly worded section, not fully understood by the city clerk.
More importantly, Article III Section 3.3 of the city charter states: “No informalities of conducting elections shall invalidate the same, if they have been conducted fairly and in substantial compliance of this charter.” I believe the authors of this paragraph were saying that the most important thing is that the elections be fair and equitable. By allowing the voters of Madeira Beach to decide, the elections are fair and equitable.
Moore would like candidates’ names removed from the ballot. That is one option. There are two other options available to the citizens of Madeira Beach.
1. Postpone the election: This would also go against the city charter which states in Section III that elections are to be held on the second Tuesday in March.
2. Allow all candidates who filed all the candidacy papers requested by the city clerk to have their names on the ballot. (The city clerk did not request the acceptance of nomination letter on documents provided to each candidate.)
Option two best fits Section 3.3 of the city charter. It allows fair and equitable elections to be held and it does not penalize the candidates for mistakes in election documentation provided by the city. Most importantly, it allows the citizens of Madeira Beach to have a choice for mayor as well as commissioner of District 3. I hope Ms. Moore would prefer that the voters be given their opportunity to decide. I also hope she would prefer to win the election via popular vote, rather than on a technicality.