LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — Two men in Leon County have filed a lawsuit to disqualify Bernie Sanders from the Florida Democratic Presidential Preference Primary on March 17.
The men filing the lawsuit, Frank Bach and George Brown, contend Sanders is technically an independent and shouldn't be included. The lawsuit was filed in Leon County.
According to the lawsuit, both Bach and Brown are registered Democrats and plan to participate in the primary. However they are, "concerned that the inclusion on that ballot of Independent Sanders will adversely affect their right to have the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary limited to those who are, in fact, Democrats."
Because Florida has a closed primary, those who aren't registered to a particular party can't vote. The lawsuit contends those same rules apply to Sanders.
"... there is no basis in Florida law for an Independent such as [Sanders] to properly participate as a candidate in the March 17 Democratic Presidential Preference Primary, when he is and has been for the last several years been an Independent."
The lawsuit aims to bar Sanders' from participating and seeks to automatically nullify any votes Sanders may receive from the Democratic Presidential Primary.
Sanders is officially an independent U.S. Senator from Vermont but caucuses with Democrats. The lawsuit comes as Sanders emerges as the front-runner among a dwindling field of Democratic hopefuls.
The Associated Press reports that Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Juan Peñalosa called the lawsuit “ridiculous," saying the state party had unanimously voted to place Sanders on the Florida ballot.