The Vero Beach Canvassing Board has reinstated candidates Linda Hillman and Brian Heady in their quest for seats on the City Council. In a hastily called public meeting (notice went out yesterday), the Canvassing Board members – City Clerk Tammy Bursick, City Attorney Wayne Coment and City Manager Jim O’Connor – decided there were too many questions about actions and events leading up to the disqualifications, so they voted to re-qualify them. According to the Board, this action will result in postponing the City election until several weeks after the November 6 County and State election because overseas ballots have already been mailed out.
A civil suit filed by candidate Hillman prompted the meeting, which is unusual in that Canvassing Boards typically meet after an election to certify the results. But the suit claimed Hillman’s disqualification was unjustified and handled improperly. “At the close of qualifying, Plaintiff Linda Hillman was identified as a duly qualified candidate… The City Clerk also certified to the Indian River County Supervisor of Elections that Plaintiff Linda Hillman was a duly qualified candidate…so that the name of Plaintiff Linda Hillman would appear on the ballot.”
The meeting began with the Board claiming the candidate is responsible for the correct filing of campaign documents, but enough questions were raised by the candidates and supporters in the room about paperwork, inadvertent mistakes and document security, that O’Connor made a motion to reinstate Hillman and Heady. Bursick seconded the motion and it passed 3-0.
The next step is for City Council to call for a special election. probably in conjunction with the next City Council meeting on October 2.