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Mack Bernard files challenge, says 49 voters didn’t have ballots counted in 17-vote loss to Jeff Clemens

by Andrew Abramson | August 31st, 2012


Mack Bernard has filed a lawsuit in court that seeks to overturn Jeff Clemens’ 17-vote win in the State Senate 27 race.  The lawsuit was not immediately available.

Richard Giorgio, a campaign consultant for Bernard, said there are 40 absentee ballots that were not counted because the supervisor’s office determined that the signatures on the absentee ballot envelope did not match the signature on file. Giorgio said the campaign has sworn affidavits from these voters that it was in fact their signature.

“We’re going to present some evidence to the judge that those ballots should be counted and they are in fact valid and legitimate,” Giorgio said. “The signatures are of the voters that completed them, and there is no reason for them not to be counted.”

Giorgio also said there are nine voters who filled out provisional ballots correctly, but that the ballots were thrown out because the poll worker failed to list the voters’ party registration.

The lawsuit lists Bernard, Mangonia Park councilwoman Addie Greene and Phillippe Louis Jeune as plaintiffs.

Clemens, the Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, Governor Rick Scott, Attorney General Palm Bondi, CFO Jeff Atwater, County Judge Caroline Shepherd, Carrie Ward adn Amy Borman are all named as defendants.

Bernard’s challenge has angered the state’s Democratic establishment. While Clemens and Bernard are both Democratic state representatives, without a Republican in the race, much of the GOP and business support went to Bernard.

“Mack Bernard and his Republican lawyer are ridiculously cherry-picking invalid ballots to try to litigate an already certified election,” said Kevin Cate, a spokesman for Clemens. “Counting invalid ballots, several of which were signed by the same person, is absurd. The ballots were counted, recounted, and hand counted. Jeff Clemens won every time.”

Giorgio said he “saw no evidence that any of the ballots were signed by the same person,” and he said Cate’s statements about votes being counted and recounted ”makes no sense.”

“These ballots have never been counted,” Giorgio said.

According to state statue, the circuit court “may not review or consider any evidence other than the signature on the voter’s certificate and the signature of the elector in the registration records. The court’s review of such issue shall be to determine only if the canvassing board abused its discretion in making its decision.”

After all the precincts were counted on election night and Clemens had a 1.5 percent lead, he celebrated an apparent victory. But his lead continued to shrink as absentee votes were counted.

Bernard’s campaign credited a Republican-style strategy of targeting absentee voters. In this case, the campaign went after Haitian-American voters by signing them up for an absentee ballot and then picking up the sealed ballots and delivering them to the Supervisor of Elections office so the voters didn’t have to pay postage. The campaign estimated that it delivered 1,000 absentee ballots to the county.

The winner of the primary will not technically win the seat until November. After being certified as the winner in the primary, Clemens will face a write-in candidate in the general election, unless a judge overturns the primary results.

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29 Responses to “Mack Bernard files challenge, says 49 voters didn’t have ballots counted in 17-vote loss to Jeff Clemens”

  1. Rawhide Says:

    I bet they were Haitian

  2. jebamoni4 Says:

    Why the magic number 49? The Haitian had a very comfortable life doing nothing either to his people or to the
    community, whereas all the Haitians working hard to make a living!! He cannot leave that lifestyle now. So he is investing 49 beings.His bossman
    Scott will not let him down.

  3. LP Truth Team Says:

    SORE LOSER…. Mack is now FINISHED, his political career is over after this move.

    I am glad he is gone, he was a horrible representative of his district in the House.

  4. Charlie F. Says:

    You lost. Get over it.

    PS: paying for Haitian Votes is illegal. Dont think the Clemens campaign doesn’t know what went on in Riviera Beach. Tread carefully.

  5. Toni Says:

    I sure didn’t vote for him – just what we need in office a man supposedly running as a Democrat but taking all his directions from the Republican party. He has no ethics or morals just wants an easy paycheck. And anyone associated with Greene is definitely someone we don’t want in office. Greene sold her vote for everyone to see while she sat on the County Commission – she should have been taken to court for that but no one wanted to be accused of using the race card.

  6. Searcher Says:

    So, I can open the comments on the Tampa Tribune and instantly a message reply opens up with my name. Yet my local paper, the Post, has to have “sign in or register” half of the time and doesn’t have a “vote” feature. Someone needs a new web master…..

  7. Civil Says:

    And folks this is why nothing ever gets done. Here we have two people in the same party with one refusing to accept the recounts. How many times do we need to pay the huge expense of recounting. This is ridiculous. I would never vote for Mr. Bernard again!

  8. Poor loser Says:

    So you go into the community, allegedly fill out people’s ballots for them, allegedly pay other people to fill out their ballots the correct way, all in an attempt to de-fraud the vote.
    Then, when you still lose, you claim some sort of fraud that you didn’t win.
    I love it!!!

  9. Truth Says:

    “Counting invalid ballots, several of which were signed by the same person, is absurd.”
    Look out, Mack Bernard. Somebody is on to you.

  10. jebamoni4 Says:

    We have 50 reasons to hate Haitians!!
    Bernard, the loser and 49 of his accomplices!!!

  11. Count Every Vote! Says:

    Kevin Cate must have failed the 3rd grade reading comprehension section of the FCAT. The article says these ballots were never counted.

  12. Stop the Haitian Bashing Says:

    Wow! It looks like the Clemens team is working the blogs. How sad to see all of the hateful comments.

  13. Bill Neubauer Says:

    1. My own experience at the Lakeside church polling place tells me that at least one of Bucher’s units was in total chaos and, worse, there seemed to be no direct contact between the poll workers and the central office. I hope the rest of the system was better organized.
    2. I’m a sort of a purist about some things. I don’t trust absentee ballots. When they are filled out away from official sites, there is too much opportunity for professionals to influence how those ballots are voted.
    3. There is apparently no connection between the Bernard challenge and general voting procedures. But I have never thought that it was unreasonable for evey voter to make arrangements to vote on ELECTION DAY between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. I feel that early voting simply increases the possibility that something will go wrong with the voting.

  14. STEVE LICARI Says:

    Clemens was always the better chose
    sorry to say Stop the Haitian Bashing
    i met Mack Bernard in person and heard him speak he is not a good rep for the people

  15. u got serve Says:

    Yea this guy was a trade coat. I vote for Cleman. Only because I watch who was support him compare to Bernard. Oh yea please stop the race talkin. Let keep it on politics

  16. Bito Says:

    Bernard is a sore looser, just like his counet part, the repubicans, a repubican is helping a democrat win a democratic primary election? Whats wrong with this picture? I bet they told him, we stole the election in 2000 this way, we can do it again for you, thanks for the help Bernard.

  17. Dee Cunningham Says:

    As a member of the democratic party, please adhere to the global picture of reelecting our president and honor Jeff Clemons, who won this election with a recount. Mr. Bernard, please respect the decision of the canvassing board and remember, to be defeacted is not a tragedy, but to not move forward in life is more of a tragedy.

  18. Pastafarian Says:

    I’m registered NPA, so the primary was closed to me. As I wasn’t permitted to vote for either of these two, I will be voting for the write-in in November; I just wish I knew who put him up to it.

    And why is Addie Greene a plaintiff?

  19. Right on Says:

    Dee, obviously those posting the racist comment are not Democrats, nor are they from the Clemens campaign. I know Jeff would be disgusted to see those.
    However, it’s clear he won the election, no matter how close. Going back and trying to have illegal votes counted seems like a waste of taxpayer time and money. Give it up, Mack.

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  21. Enough Says:

    First of all, the anti-Haitian comments are unacceptable. This is not about nationality or about race. It is about a Democratic candidate with a record of voting with Republicans being backed by the Republicans, and showing the same sore loser mentality. Mack, it does not look good on you. Time to step back and accept the results with grace.

  22. Jean Says:

    You anti-Haitian racists need to back to New York or wherever you came from. Its disgusting to hear people in Palm Beach of a CERTAIN non-Christian religious persuasion continuously insult Blacks in west county and Haitians.

    I’m tired of it and it shouldn’t be tolerated.

    COUNT THE VOTES. Whoever wins wins, but COUNT THE VOTES.

  23. PERAGINE Says:

    It’s great to see so many Democrats support Palm Beach County State Attorney candidate Dina Keever over Democratic rival David Aronberg. As Dina Keever has stated many times, this office should not be a partisan race. It’s just nice to see so many voters put away their party hat and do whats right for Palm Beach County. Dina Keever has prosecuted over 250 investigations, while David Aronberg has not once set foot in a court room as a prosecutor. We need a prosecutor as our State Attorney, not a politician. To find out more about what Dina Keever stand for, please check out her website at

  24. R U Kidding Says:

    Where is the State Attorney on the so-called fraudulent signing of absentee ballots? Heard this happened a lot more than 49 times. Try hundreds. Or more … And match out these ballots with Mack’s aide, Bobby.

  25. Evil Says:

    Mack Bernard gets to read the evil spewed by Democrats in Palm Beach County.


  26. StrangleHold Says:

    And remember the Democrat party in PBC URGED votes to NOT vote for the Democrat Senate candidate, a black man named Kendrick Meek, but to vote for the WHITE INDEPENDENT senate candidate, Charlie Crist.

    Wow, that’s the support Democrats in PBC give to a minority candidate.

    It’s all about winning, not supporting a democrat.

    They didn’t think the black candidate, Mr. Meek would win. So they threw him to the wolves.

    Beware minority candidates-just look at the ‘leadership’ in the local democrat party and you will discover you have to belong another group before you get a nod to EVEN BE CONSIDERED for a try at political office here.


  27. jebamoni4 Says:

    It is true that Mr.Meek was stabbed in the back. But in this case, we are trying to push forward a clandestine group Many of them are illiterate and somebody has to stuff their votes for them. Every sector of the neighborhood hate this clandestine group who are loud and lousy, people of all races hate them.
    This Haitian guy does not deserve to be given the “leadership” He camouflaged as democrat and black once and we voted him into office. But unfortunately he misused his office in siding with the egg headed Governor and Insurance companies to raise our rates.

  28. jebamoni4 Says:

    Jean!!! Calling a HAITIAN, a Haitian is not a racist word. Illitteracy, pOverty and greed make the Haitians behave bad in the public.That is why everybody hate Haitians BlackS,whites and hispanics hate them unilaterly. Haitians are rude and loud and they do not not make good neighbors. Please ask non-haitians in Lke Park and WPB and they will vouch, how the Haitian neighbors behave.How many times theHaitians threaten the
    co-workers to caste voodoo spell on them? Inspite of regulations how many times, Haitians use their cellphone long hours all the time at the work place?THEY ARE SOME OF THE REASONS PEOPLE HATE HAITIANS.

  29. Backlink Wheel Says:

    They didn’t think the black candidate, Mr. Meek would win. So they threw him to the wolves.

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