Bill Wohlsifer is one of four candidates vying to be Florida’s next Attorney General and yesterday, August 13, 2014, he filed an official complaint against the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office (SOE), Bill Cowles. Wohlsifer states that Cowles caused the SOE to conduct a straw poll on July 31, 2014 that did not include his name.
As a constitutional office, the SOE is obliged to be fair and impartial in their conduct; yet, it is clear the SOE was not in this case and, as Wohlsifer alleges, affect the outcome of the election. Often omissions are explained away that it is due to the primaries, however the Republican, Pam Bondi, does not face a primary and her name was included in the straw poll.
As Wohlsifer states in the complaint, “Although straw polls have been held by private organizations for some time to create an illusion of candidates being presumptively favored by voters prior to an official election, the use of taxpayer equipment and staff when qualified candidates are being discriminatorily excluded is both highly prejudicial and illegal.”
Wohlsifer has a prior Florida Attorney General opinion, as well as Florida Statute and case law to support his argument. In this case, Wohlsifer was materially damaged by the SOE’s excluding his name and lessens his chances of being taken seriously as a candidate for which he is and is as qualified, if not more qualified, than his opponents in the race.