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Local Lawyer Files Suit Against Duval County Supervisor Of Elections

Ryan Benk
David Taylor outside the Supervisor of Elections Office Thursday

A Jacksonville lawyer is suing Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan for allegedly failing to properly give notice to candidates before a Jacksonville City Council special election.

The dispute comes after Westside City Councilman Doyle Carter announced last month he’s stepping down to run for tax collector.

David Taylor argues Hogan should’ve published two newspaper notices about the special election to replace him, at least 10 days before the candidate qualifying period began, aslaid out in this Florida statute.

Hogan told WJCT News he’s confident a state law requiring the notices doesn’t apply, after consulting with city lawyers. After all, the city charter doesn’t explicitly require them.

“The special election is controlled by the city charter,” Hogan said. “Mr. Taylor came in and brought up the issue of notice, [but] the language he was using was state language and didn’t apply to municipal elections.”

Still, Taylor argues the same charter says state law still applies.

“If you read the city ordinance on special elections, it specifically has a paragraph in there that says in the event that their statute is void or vague as to any specifics, as to any issues, it specifically refers you back to the very statute that I am citing that requires said notice,” he said.

The portion of the charter Taylor is citing specifically states “In all cases and situations not covered by this Section, and so far as practicable, the general laws of the state applicable to elections of County officials shall apply to the special elections and special primary elections herein provided for.”

The special election to replace Carter will take place at the same time as next month’s primary on August 28. Former Firefighters’ Union President Randy White is running unopposed.

Taylor won’t say whether he’s hoping to run for the seat in 2019 or in a potential new special election if his suit is successful. He admits it’s not clear whether his case would be decided before the scheduled primary election.

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.