The Florida Division Of Elections has determined that Larry Aguilar did not qualify to be on the August 26 primary ballot to represent District 79 in the Florida House. This determination was made because the DOE says Mr. Aguilar didn’t get his qualifying papers in to them by the June 20th noon deadline.
Seems pretty cut and dry, right?
Not so cut and not so dry. Mr. Aguilar mailed his qualifying papers to the DOE on June 17th, 2014 at 2:18 pm. The tracking information from the postal service shows exactly when it was accepted in LeHigh Acres, FL.
I talked to Mr. Aguilar, and I asked him two very important questions. First, why did he wait until 3 days prior to the deadline to mail the paperwork, and second, given the fact that he did wait so long, why didn’t he mail the paperwork Fedex or UPS, since mail other than those two services does not go directly to the DOE, and instead stays at the post office until someone from the DOE makes a mail run.
Mr. Aguilar says he felt he had enough time to get it in by mailing it First Class. Let’s hope he, or anyone else, doesn’t do that again!
There is no question that the certified, return receipt requested, qualifying papers were available for pickup at 9:46 am on June 20th, 2014.
The Post Office has that fact documented.
The Division of Elections, through Brittany Lesser from the Communications Department, says that Larry Aguilar’s mail wasn’t released to them by the Post Office on June 20th. According to Lesser, the first mail run to the Post Office happened June 20th at 7:30 am. I can understand Aguilar’s mail not being picked up then because it, in fact, wasn’t available for pickup. The post office’s paperwork shows that it wasn’t available until 9:46 am.
The questions come when we look at what the Division Of Elections says happened in the afternoon. Again, according to Lesser, there was a second run made in the afternoon, and again, the post office wouldn’t release Aguilar’s mail to them.
That makes no sense. If, as the documents from the Post Office show, the mail was available for pickup, why would the Post Office refuse to release the mail?
I’ve had mail available for pickup at my local Post Office, and I’ve never gone there to pick it up and was told no, I couldn’t have it, if it was available.
According to Aguilar, he spoke to a DOE mail clerk named “David”, and he said there was no second run to the Post Office in the afternoon. I asked Brittany Lesser if she knew who the mail clerk was that made the runs on that day, and she said she didn’t. What immediately stood out to me was this: How could she know what happened without speaking to the person who actually went, or getting the information from someone who actually spoke to the person who actually went? This is something that will determine who goes on a ballot to be elected. Does the DOE take this so frivolously that they don’t bother to find out who the players are?
Not a good look DOE!
I spoke to someone at the Post Office and was told that there are surveillance cameras there. That should show whether or not the Division Of Elections made a second run to the post office to pick up mail. Right?
Mr. Aguilar has proof of when the qualifying papers were available. The Division Of Elections has seen the proof that the papers were available at 9:46 am on the 20th of June, prior to the deadline. Given the fact that no mail is delivered to the actual DOE building except Fedex and UPS, once that paperwork was available to the DOE at the post office, that should be when it is officially received, making Aguilar eligible and qualified.
In my opinion, that should be enough to allow this man on the ballot.
Perhaps the ball was dropped by the Post Office, which seems unlikely given the fact that they have documented proof that the papers were available for pickup.
Perhaps the ball was dropped by the Division Of Elections. Did someone actually go twice to pick up mail, or did they say “hey, today is Friday and I’m not going back to the Post Office”?
If I had to guess, I would say the latter. The ONLY way to prove the someone from the Division Of Elections did in fact go to pick that mail up and it wasn’t available is the surveillance cameras of the Post Office.
Regardless of which of the two, the Post Office or the Division Of Elections, Larry Aguilar is suffering the consequences by not being allowed onto the ballot.
That needs to change.
I also am anxiously waiting for that surveillance footage. It would be the only proof the DOE has to show that a second run was made.
This should turn out really good for Larry Aguilar, and really bad for either the DOE or the Post Office, one of which isn’t telling the truth.
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