In Indian River County, ‘ghost candidates’ are robbing tens of thousands of voters of their choices by exploiting loopholes to avoid fees and signature requirements, ensuring their names never appear on ballots. Despite their low visibility after qualifying, their mere presence mandates closed primaries, disenfranchising a significant portion of the electorate.

For instance, Deborah Cooney and Keith Ridings are write-in candidates for Sheriff and the District 5 County Commission seat in Indian River County. This situation diverges from typical Florida elections, where all voters can participate in primaries if all candidates come from one party, regardless of their own party affiliation. However, a constitutional amendment in 1998, designed to promote open primaries under such circumstances, inadvertently created a major loophole when a single write-in candidate enters the race.

Approximately 58,104 Indian River County voters who aren’t registered as Republicans will be unable to vote for their next Sheriff or District 5 commissioner. This exclusion affects nearly half of the county’s 117,226 voters, denying them a meaningful voice in these pivotal elections.

View which candidates will be on the August Democratic Primary ballot HERE.