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UPDATE: Bernard concedes, Appeals court upholds Clemens victory in SD 27 primary

Friday, October 19th, 2012 by Dara Kam

UPDATE: State Rep. Mack Bernard has conceded the Senate District 27 race to Democratic primary winner Jeff Clemens.
“I spoke to Sen. Jeff Clemens and congratulated him on a hard-fought race and I look forward to helping make sure we re-elect the president of the U.S. and make sure we get as many Democrats elected during this election,” Bernard, D-West Palm Beach, said.

Bernard said he won’t appeal an appellate court decision upholding Clemens’s 17-vote margin in the August primary.

“It’s time for us to move forward and to move on to the November election,” he said.

Clemens

State Rep. Jeff Clemens remains the winner in a Democratic primary for Senate District 27 after a three-judge panel unanimously upheld a lower court decision today. Clemens, D-Lake Worth, won the hotly contested battle by a slim 17-vote margin, prompting state Rep. Mack Bernard to sue.

Bernard, D-West Palm Beach, had asked the 1st District Court of Appeals to overturn Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis’s ruling that agreed with the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board’s rejection of 40 absentee ballots. The signatures on the ballots did not match the voters’ signatures on file with elections officials, the board and Lewis decided.

The appellate judges rejected arguments by Bernard’s lawyer J.C. Planas that Lewis should have considered information other than the two signatures, including affidavits filed by 23 of the 40 voters. The court heard oral arguments in the case yesterday.

“The statute explicitly states that the circuit court may not review or consider any other evidence,” the judges wrote in a short opinion issued today.

Bernard, a West Palm Beach Democrat, can appeal the decision to the Florida Supreme Court.

Skeptical judges hear arguments in Bernard appeal of Senate District 27 election

Thursday, October 18th, 2012 by Dara Kam

A three-judge panel appeared skeptical Thursday of state Rep. Mack Bernard’s appeal of a lower court decision affirming his Democratic opponent Jeff Clemens as the winner in a Palm Beach County state senate race.

Bernard appealed Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis’s ruling that the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board was correct in rejecting 40 ballots in the District 27 race that Clemens won by 17 votes.

The canvassing board rejected the ballots because the signatures did not match the voters’ official signatures in the voter registration file, indicating they may have been fraudulent.

Representing Bernard, former state Rep. J.C. Planas argued during a hearing before the 1st District Court of Appeal on Thursday that Lewis should looked beyond just the signatures to determine whether the ballots were valid. Lewis rejected Planas’ request to introduce affidavits of the voters, many of whom are Haitian-American. Planas also said Thursday Lewis should have looked at the entire voter registration forms to determine whether the writing on the absentee ballots was made by the same person.

And, Planas argued, Lewis should have examined the ballots the canvassing board accepted as well as the ones they rejected to ensure that they were consistent.

But the three judges appeared unconvinced, saying that a new Florida law passed last year severely restricted Lewis’s ability to examine anything other than the signatures on the ballots and the signature in the voter registration file. The law was intended to limit protracted legal challenges over absentee ballots in elections.

“It’s almost like you’re asking us to rewrite the statute,” Judge Nikki Ann Clark said shortly after oral arguments began.
(more…)

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

Friday, August 31st, 2012 by Andrew Abramson

Bernard

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. (more…)

Mack Bernard likely to challenge 17-vote loss in court

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012 by Andrew Abramson

Mack Bernard, coming off an oh-so-close 17-vote loss to Jeff Clemens in this month’s State Senate 27 race, will likely challenge the result in court.

Juan-Carlos Planas, a former Republican state legislator and an attorney representing Bernard, said a challenge will likely be filed today or Thursday.

“You want to get it right, especially when people’s votes are on the line,” Planas said.

Planas said he could “neither confirm nor deny” sources who said Bernard has been getting affidavits from absentee ballot voters whose ballots were challenged. It could be enough to overcome Clemens’ 17 vote advantage. Planas said it will all be included in the challenge.

By state law, a campaign only has two grounds for challenge — either votes that should have been counted were not counted, or votes that shouldn’t have been counted were counted.

Bernard has until Tuesday to file a challenge, but Planas said he would like to have the challenge filed this week.

The likelihood of a challenge is angering the state’s Democratic establishment. Clemens and Bernard are both Democratic state representatives, but without a Republican in the race, much of the Republican and business community support went to Bernard.

Clemens did not immediately return a call for comment. Kevin Cate, a spokesman for Clemens’ campaign, said, “Republicans spent close to half a million dollars meddling in this Democratic state senate primary, and it looks like they’re still pushing for the results to be contested. … Democrats are urging Mack Bernard to start looking toward the future as to how he can best serve Florida going forward.”

Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Scott Arceneaux said in an e-mail, “The votes in this race have been counted, re-counted and then counted again by hand. The election has been certified and we again congratulate Senator-elect Jeff Clemens on this hard fought victory. This was a close election, but one in which the process worked thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Palm Beach County SOE. It is time we turned our focus and attention to November 6.”

Clemens initially won the race by 34 votes out of more than 24,000 votes cast. A recount then showed Clemens with a 17-vote win.

The winner of the primary will not technically win the seat until November. Clemens (or Bernard, if he wins in court) will face a write-in candidate in November.

Bernard camp takes day off, no decision yet on challenge

Sunday, August 19th, 2012 by Andrew Abramson

A day after an emotional recount showed a 17-vote loss to Jeff Clemens in the State Senate District 27 race, Mack Bernard’s campaign took Sunday off and has not yet decided whether it will challenge the result.

“Everybody was just wiped out,” said Richard Giorgio, a consultant for Bernard. “We’re taking the day off today.”

Giorgio said he expects the state to certify the election results Monday or Tuesday, and at that point Bernard will have 10 days to challenge the outcome.

“If you file a challenge, you’ve got to claim either one of two things: votes that should have been counted weren’t counted, or votes that were counted should not have been counted,” Giorgio said.

When asked whether the campaign believes one of those two scenarios exists, Giorgio said, “that’s something for lawyers to figure out.”

Clemens-Bernard count postponed again until 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 by Andrew Abramson

Both Mack Bernard and Jeff Clemens were on hand this morning to see the final results of Tuesday’s State Senate vote. And they’ll have to wait even longer.

The county’s canvassing board finished counting absentee ballots last night but postponed their count of provisional ballots until 10 a.m. this morning. But after counting about 25 provisional ballots today, the board had to postpone the count until 4:30 p.m.

Because of a change in the voting law last year, voters who move from one county to another and haven’t changed their address with the supervisor’s office prior to voting now have to fill out a provisional ballot. Previously, a voter already registered in the state could change their address when voting and fill out a standard ballot.

Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher said her office will spend the next few hours contacting elections’ offices in 11 counties to ensure that voters who filled out provisional ballots did not also vote in the county they were previously registered in. Bucher said she’s not sure if there are just 11 ballots left to count or if one or more of the counties had multiple voters cast a provisional ballot in Palm Beach County on Tuesday.

The canvassing board counted about 25 ballots Wednesday morning, but Bucher did not provide updated figures. As of Wednesday morning, Clemens is up just 35 votes on fellow state representative Bernard out of more than 24,000 votes (50.07 percent to 49.93 percent).

While Bernard spent hours last night at the Palm Beach County tabulation center in Riviera Beach, Clemens celebrated what he thought was a victory and later sent some of his consultants to the vote count.

On Wednesday, both Clemens and Bernard were on hand to watch  the final vote. Bucher said a recount is expected this weekend, which is required when a race is within half a percentage point.

“I don’t think much is going to change today,” Clemens said. “I’m just glad I’m still up.”

Both sides had lawyers on hand in case there is a legal challenge.

“My attorney and I have not a chance to assess the situation,” Bernard said. “The first thing is to make sure every vote is counted.”

 

Bernard-Clemens race likely heading to a recount

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012 by Andrew Abramson

RIVIERA BEACH — Hours after Jeff Clemens celebrated what he thought was a victory, his State Senate race is likely heading to a recount.

With all of the absentee votes counted and only provisional ballots to go, Clemens is up just 35 votes on Bernard out of more than 24,000 (50.07 percent to 49.93 percent). Both sides say it looks like a recount, which is required when a race is within half a percentage point.

Richard Giorgio, political consultant for Bernard, said his campaign made a huge absentee ballot push in the finals days, which appears to have made a difference. The final two days of absentee ballots were counted in the last hour.

Bernard is at the county’s tabulation center, while Clemens sent consultants.

Giorgio said he thinks a recount would benefit Bernard because it might pick up errors.

“We had a lot of first time voters, and many had never used this ballot style before,” Giorgio said.

Cesar Fernandez, consultant for Clemens, said he doesn’t think a recount would necessarily benefit either side.

“We just have to be patient,” Fernandez said.

Mack Bernard: The night is young

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012 by Andrew Abramson

Bernard (right) with political consultant Giorgio

RIVIERA BEACH — While Jeff Clemens has already been spotted on Twitter celebrating a victory, his State Senate opponent Mack Bernard says the race is not over.

Clemens is up on Bernard 50.65 to 49.35 percent with all 272 of the precincts counted. But there are still absentee and provisional ballots to be counted. Out of more than 23,000 votes, Clemens is up 304 votes.

Bernard is waiting in the county’s tabulation center in Riviera Beach as the canvassing board looks at remaining ballots. Several of Clemens’ consultants are also at the tabulation center, but Clemens is not expected to show up in person.

“There are a lot of absentees out there and a lot of provisional ballots. The night is young,” Bernard said. “All day we’ve been telling everyone that this race will be decided by 300 votes and it’s right down to that 300 vote margin.”

Bernard also said there are a number of Haitians voting for the first time who might have gone to the wrong precinct and had to fill out a provisional ballot.

Right now, Clemens is up by 0.7 percent. If the margin drops to 0.5 percent, there will be an automatic recount. Richard Giorgio, Bernard’s political consultant, said he believes the margin could drop low enough to force a recount.

Clemens challenges mailer saying he supported ocean discharge in Lake Worth

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 by whoward

Jeff Clemens, a District 27 candidate for state Senate, issued a press release Wednesday challenging a campaign mailer that says he supported Lake Worth’s 2007 plan to discharge briny concentrate from a reverse-osmosis water plant while serving as the city’s mayor.

The flier shows a brownish substance spewing from a discharge pipe behind a photo of Clemens. It says Clemens, then mayor of Lake Worth, supported the utility’s plan to allow the discharge into the ocean off Lake Worth Beach, which opponents argued would harm coral reefs.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Clemens calls the flier “libelous.” His campaign manager, Cesar Fernandez, said he is consulting with lawyers about a possible lawsuit.

 Annette James, campaign manager for Clemens’ opponent, Mack Bernard, said Bernard had not seen the ads, did not approve them and could not comment.

“These mailers were not sent from, nor approved by, the Mack Bernard campaign,” James said.

The mailer accusing Clemens of being weak on the environment was paid for by the Committee for Effective Representation. The committee is controlled by Associated Industries of Florida, the big-busness group that is supporting Bernard in the race for the new Senate District 27 that covers much of east-central Palm Beach County.

In a May 2007 article published in The Palm Beach Post, Clemens is quoted as saying he would not support the water plant’s ocean discharge if it would harm the reef.

“I don’t want to look back 20 years from now and see that we killed the reef,” Clemens was quoted as saying.

“These attacks are just flat out lies,” Clemens said in a statement. “I voted to protect the coral reefs, and we closed the outfall while I was mayor of Lake Worth.”

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection denied the city’s permit for the ocean discharge of the reverse osmois concentrate. Clemens and the commissionvoted against hiring a lobbyist to push for approval of the permit.

The city has since built a reverse-osmosis water plant, which uses a deep injection well instead of an ocean outfall to dispose of its byproduct.

Competing endorsements in Palm Beach County senate races

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Palm Beach County legislative candidates nailed down several endorsements recently, including support from polar opposites in the Senate District 27 primary contest between Democratic state Reps. Jeff Clemens and Mack Bernard.

The all-Palm Beach County senate district race is shaping up to be a business vs. labor union battle, not an unusual platform for many campaigns. Except this race is between two Democrats, who rarely receive glowing endorsements from business-backed lobbies (except in Democratic primaries.)

Two of the state’s biggest labor unions – the AFL-CIO and SEIU – are backing state Rep. Jeff Clemens, a Lake Worth Democrat, Clemens’ campaign announced today. The AFL-CIO also endorsed Clemens in his run for the House seat he now holds.

Rep. Mack Bernard, D-West Palm Beach, nailed down an endorsement from the Florida Chamber of Commerce today. Bernard already has the endorsement of one of Florida’s other top business lobbies – Associated Industries of Florida. The newly drawn District 27 seat stretches generally west of the turnpike in Palm Beach County.

The Chamber also endorsed state Rep. Joe Abruzzo, D-Wellington. Abruzzo will face off against the winner of a GOP primary between Melanie Peterson and Geoff Sommers.

Avoiding what might have been a brutal primary against Abruzzo, Sachs is running for the new Democratic-leaning District 34, a Palm Beach-Broward seat, against Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale.

Teachers unions back Clemens in Democratic state Senate primary

Friday, June 8th, 2012 by George Bennett

Union political clout may be on the wane with the general electorate, as this week’s Wisconsin recall results attest.

But within the confines of a Democratic primary, scoring the endorsement of the Florida Education Association and Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association is still a big deal. Those teachers unions have weighed in for state Rep. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, over state Rep. Mack Bernard, D-West Palm Beach, in their primary for a heavily Democratic state Senate seat.

“Representative Jeff Clemens has been one of the strongest supporters of public education in the Florida House,” said FEA President Andy Ford. “Jeff has a strong record of defending public education. His commitment to our students and public schools is crystal clear.”

Clemens and Mack are running for the Disrict 27 seat, which includes overwhelmingly Democratic minority precincts and condo communities. Dems hold more than a 2-to-1 registration edge over Republicans in the district. With an hour to go before today’s noon qualifying deadline, no GOP candidate has filed for the seat.

Wexler joins Deutch in endorsing Rader in contested Democratic state Senate primary

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 by George Bennett

Wexler

Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler has joined his successor, U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, in endorsing Democrat Kevin Rader over two other Dems for the new District 27 state Senate seat.

Rader, a former state House member from Delray Beach, is running against current Democratic state Reps. Mack Bernard and Jeff Clemens for the Riviera Beach-to-Boynton Beach Senate district.

About one-third of the district’s voters are black and many of them are represented in the House by Bernard, who is black. Many of the district’s coastal precincts are now represented in the House by Clemens.

The district also includes the Democrat-leaning condos of Century Village, Cypress Lakes and Golden Lakes, which have been represented in Congress by Wexler and now Deutch. The condos were part of an old Senate district where Rader won a 2010 primary but lost in the general election to Republican Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto.

Rader, who had been challenging Democratic state Sen. Maria Sachs in a Palm Beach-Broward district, jumped into the District 27 race this week.

Says Wexler in a statement released today: “I am proud to endorse Kevin Rader and look forward to actively helping him win this election. Kevin is the Democrat we need in the State Senate!”

Endorsementpalooza in Senate District 27 Democratic primary

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 by George Bennett

Former Democratic state Rep. Kevin Rader made an endorsement splash by jumping into the Senate District 27 primary this week with the backing of U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton.

Rader’s rivals — Democratic state Reps. Mack Bernard and Jeff Clemens — have rolled out their own endorsement lists studded with local elected officials.

Bernard’s backers include Palm Beach County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor, former county commish Addie Greene and school board members Marcia Andrews and Debra Robinson.

Clemens’ supporters include County Commissioner Paulette Burdick and Mayors Sam Ferreri of Greenacres, Dave Stewart of Lantana, Don Clayman of South Palm Beach and Bev Smith of Palm Springs.

See a complete list of Bernard and Clemens endorsements after the jump…

(more…)

Former state Rep. Harper wants to return to state House

Thursday, April 5th, 2012 by George Bennett

Harper

Former Democratic state Rep. James Henry “Hank” Harper Jr. says he’s running for the state House seat that Rep. Mack Bernard, D-West Palm Beach, is giving up to run for state Senate.

Bernard aide Bobby Powell and Riviera Beach Councilman Cedrick Thomas, both Dems, are also interested in running for the minority-dominated District 88 seat, which runs from Lake Park to Delray Beach, generally east of Interstate 95.

Harper was elected to the House in 2000 but gave up his seat in 2004 for an unsuccessful challenge of former County Commissioner Addie Greene. He planned to run in a special 2009 state House election but failed to qualify for the ballot because of a paperwork problem.

Florida House keeps it brief, shines spotlight on FSU b-ballers

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Florida House members straggled back to Tallahassee after just four days off for a brief kick-off to an “extraordinary” special session followed by an update from their lawyer about the Senate’s faulty legislative maps.

The Florida Supreme Court signed off on the House’s newly drawn maps but rejected eight of the Senate’s proposed 40 districts, meaning the upper chamber will have to do the heavy lifting for the next 10 days.

House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, told happy House members they won’t have to return to the Capitol next week but to be prepared to come back on March 26-28 to finalize the Senate’s new plan.

The House’s redistricting lawyer George Meros will give the redistricting committee an update on what the court found wrong with the Senate maps this afternoon.

House Redistricting Committee Chairman Will Weatherford said he’s working with his Senate counterpart Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and trusts the Senate to abide by the court’s directions on how to fix the maps.

“I am confident in the Senate’s ability,” incoming House Speaker Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said. “We’re working with them. We have a good conversation going with them. We’re showing deference to them but certainly we have opinions about how the Senate maps should look…. But I think the court gave some pretty specific recommendations. It’s my understanding that they’re taking those recommendations seriously.”

A visit from Florida State University basketball coach Leonard Hamilton provided the highlight of the 11-minute floor session. Hamilton stuck around for photos with members after being introduced by Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, the “Seminole Caucus” cheerleader-in-chief.

The Seminoles won the ACC championship this week, and Hamilton, in his tenth year as head coach at FSU, was recently named the ACC coach of the year.

“Today we proudly send our Seminoles to Nashville for the first rounds of the NCAA tournament and wish them the best against St. Bonaventure, wherever that is,” Patronis said.

Rep. Mack Bernard, D-West Palm Beach, also took a moment on the floor to give his legislative aide Jacquet a shout-out. Jacquet yesterday defeated three other candidates to win a seat on the Delray Beach City Commission.

House committee approves ban on Internet cafes

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 by Dara Kam

A measure banning Internet cafes in Florida cleared its first hurdle in the Florida House over the objections of two Palm Beach County Democrats and setting up a stand-off with the Senate that wants to regulate the “casinos on the corner.”

Lawmakers need to shutter the cafes because they prey on the poor and elderly and are highly addictive, said bill sponsor Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood.

Plakon also cited reports showing that welfare recipients are using state-issued debit cards to at ATMs at the facilities to underwrite their gambling habit.

Lawmakers can pass his bill (HB 3), do nothing or regulate the facilities, which could cost the state $200 million a year by invalidating a deal Florida has with the Seminole Indians, Plakon said.

“The regulation bill would be the effect of us authorizing 1,000 gambling locations in this state,” Plakon said.

To help persuade the Business and Consumer Affairs Committee to support his bill, Plakon pointed to a San Francisco newspaper that pilloried Florida lawmakers for failing to shut down the cafes.

“This is San Francisco laughing at us,” Plakon said. “San Francisco, mind you members, is laughing at us.”

Cafe customers purchase Internet time, which they can use to browse the Web or play free “sweepstakes” games, in which computer credit or time is won. Those credits can be redeemed for cash.

Palm Beach County commissioners recently issued a moratorium blocking any new cafes from opening in unincorporated areas.
Industry backers say shutting the cafes down would put thousands of workers in the unemployment line.

“What strikes me is the jobs. It seems like some funny, fuzzy math but there are thousands, possibly tens of thousands of jobs at risk,” said Rep. Joe Abruzzo, D-Wellington, on the losing side of a 10-5 vote.

Rep. Mack Bernard, D-West Palm Beach, voted against the measure but said he was troubled by the bill needed more information about the ability the use of welfare money at the cafes.

“This is one of the sickest votes I’ve taken since I’ve been here,” Bernard said.

State House dismisses challenge to Rep. Bernard’s residency

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010 by George Bennett

TALLAHASSEE — On an overwhelming voice vote, the Florida House just dismissed a challenge to state Rep. Mack Bernard’s residency and allowed him to be seated. Bernard, a Democrat, is a former Delray Beach city commissioner who is registered to vote in West Palm Beach. Bernard, who won a special election in 2009, was reelected this month with 78 percent this month over Republican Albert Key.

GOP state House challenger Key: I’m taller, louder than Dem Rep. Bernard

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 by George Bennett

State Rep. Mack Bernard, D-West Palm Beach, who won a low-turnout special election to represent District 84 last year, isn’t very well-known among his constituents, his Republican challenger told a GOP club today.

And Republican Albert Key said he’s got a size and decibel advantage over the incumbent as well.

Low-budget candidate Key will need every edge he can get in a district that’s 65 percent Democratic and 15 percent Republican.

(more…)

Crist should appoint earthquake disaster czar, Haitian-born Rep. Bernard says

Thursday, February 4th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Bernard

Bernard

Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties are putting together a legislative task force to help streamline relief to earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

The tri-county area is home to the greatest number of Haitian immigrants and has been ground-zero for state and federal Haitian aid efforts.

Newly elected state Rep. Mack Bernard, a West Palm Beach Democrat who was born in Port-au-Prince where the epicenter of the deadly earthquake struck last month, is heading up Palm Beach County’s delegation in the task force, which will include Reps. Juan Zapata, R-Miami, and Ari Porth, D-Coral Springs, and up to 9 other South Florida lawmakers.

Bernard wants better communication from Gov. Charlie Crist, who he said telephoned him the night of the earthquake on Jan. 12 but hasn’t spoken with him since.

Bernard visited Haiti last week. His sister and her three children are now homeless as a result of the disaster, Bernard said.

Crist should appoint a “Haiti czar” to streamline efforts that could be an economic boon to financially-strapped Florida, Bernard, D-West Palm Beach, suggested.

Read the story here.

“It’s that lack of communication, especially from the governor’s office” that is creating frustration for representatives from the tri-county area, which has the state’s largest Haitian immigrant population and is now on the front line providing aid and resources to the ravaged nation, Bernard said.

It’s official: He’s Rep. Bernard now

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 by George Bennett

Rep. Mack Bernard, D-West Palm Beach

Rep. Mack Bernard, D-West Palm Beach

Former Delray Beach City Commissioner Mack Bernard, who won an Aug. 25 special election to fill the state House District 84 seat, is officially a member of the state House of Representatives after the state’s Elections Canvassing Commission certified the results this morning.

Democrat Bernard, who couldn’t vote for himself in the special election because he lived outside the District in Delray Beach, switched his voter registration to a house in West Palm Beach in District 84 on Friday. Bernard said he’s closing on the house next month and has signed a lease to live there in the meantime.

Bernard’s term runs through November 2010. He replaces Priscilla Taylor, who left the House in July when she was appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist to fill a Palm Beach County commission vacancy.

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