Mitchell Berger, the distinguished Fort Lauderdale lawyer who served as marketing campaign finance chairman for Nikki Fried’s gubernatorial marketing campaign, wasn’t in a position to vote for her in Tuesday’s major.
“I’m mortified,” he mentioned Friday.
Berger has been a registered Democrat since 1974, and he’s been closely concerned in political campaigns, candidate fundraising, and authorities for many years. And he’s intimately conversant in election regulation.
He was considered one of two individuals with management roles in her marketing campaign that she cited Tuesday night time in her concession speech after the outcomes confirmed she misplaced to Charlie Crist.
When Berger went to vote on Tuesday, he was listed as a no-party-affiliation voter. Florida has closed primaries, which suggests solely voters registered in a political social gathering can vote in its major contests.
That’s the rationale why Fried’s personal father, whom she repeatedly described on the marketing campaign path as a die-hard Republican, wasn’t in a position to vote for her on Tuesday. He might solely have accomplished so if he’d switched to the Democratic Social gathering for this yr’s major, then switched again to Republican.
Their votes didn’t find yourself making a distinction within the consequence of the first. Crist defeated Fried by 369,738 votes, 59.7% to 35.3%.
When Berger found at his Fort Lauderdale polling place that he was listed as an NPA voter, he instantly signed a kind to return his standing to registered Democrat. However not like states that enable same-day voter registration, Florida requires modifications no later than 29 days earlier than an election, so it was too late for Berger to vote in Tuesday’s major.
He solid a provisional poll, which voters get if there’s a problem on the polling place. Berger appeared Thursday earlier than the Broward elections Canvassing Board to clarify what occurred.
(He’s exceedingly conversant in canvassing boards. Berger was among the many attorneys who represented former Vice President Al Gore within the aftermath of the 2000 presidential election during which Gore misplaced Florida by 538 votes, and consequently the election, to George W. Bush.)
Broward Mayor Michael Udine, a member of the three-member Canvassing Board, mentioned the panel unanimously rejected Berger’s poll.
“Sadly, based mostly on state regulation, we needed to reject his poll,” Udine mentioned. “He was pleading his case, however he is aware of what the regulation is on that. He knew what was going to occur.”
In a phone interview Friday during which he defined what occurred, Berger mentioned he knew that might be the final word consequence, however mentioned he went earlier than the Canvassing Board and was discussing what occurred so the identical factor wouldn’t occur to others.
“I went all the way down to name consideration to it,” he mentioned. “I’m upset with myself, clearly. I’m mortified. I’m not upset with my assistant. I believe this might occur to anybody.”
Berger mentioned he was informed by Supervisor of Elections Joe Scott the identical factor has occurred to others.
In mid-June, Berger was in New Hampshire serving to an older relative who was sick, and his pockets was both misplaced or stolen. As a result of he was touring, he wanted a driver license.
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So Berger, founder and co-chairman of the Berger-Singerman regulation agency requested his secretary to assist him get a brand new driver’s license. Finishing the shape, his secretary inadvertently checked the field saying Berger wished to register to vote, then went on to finish the remainder of the driving force’s license kind on-line and submitted it.
Nevertheless, checking the field to register with out going to a web page and finishing one other kind with social gathering choice, meant he was by default registered as a no-party-affiliation voter.
Udine mentioned that’s his understanding of what occurred. “Apparently they didn’t full the entire thing,” he mentioned. “In case you don’t choose which political social gathering, they robotically swap you to NPA.
Berger is a longtime, shut affiliate of Gore and raises cash for presidential, gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidates, amongst others. His resolution to help Fried 5 months in the past was a notable improvement within the marketing campaign. Previously, Berger had supported Crist; the primary fundraiser Crist held for his 2014 marketing campaign for governor occurred at Berger’s Fort Lauderdale house, and introduced in about $500,000.
Like many individuals, Berger didn’t see the brand new voter info card mailed by the Broward Supervisor of Elections that might have proven his registration as no-party-affiliation. Consequently, he didn’t uncover what had occurred till he confirmed as much as vote on Tuesday, after which unraveled what occurred.
Berger mentioned he “might have let it die and be much less mortified” by not going to the Canvassing Board and calling consideration to what occurred. “I felt that as a result of I’ve been concerned in these points my entire life that this was simply one other glitch within the system that somebody ought to concentrate to.”