Defendants include elections supervisors from Orange, Lake, Polk and Sumter counties, moderate Republican challenger Gavriel Soriano and Rep. Daniel Webster
Days ahead of the Nov. 8 general election, GOP extremist Laura Loomer and her supporters are still disputing the Republican primary from August.
Loomer, who tried to oust Republican incumbent Rep. Daniel Webster and represent Florida’s 11th Congressional District, on Friday joined an ongoing lawsuit against the five-term congressman, the Florida Election Canvassing Commission, elections supervisors for Orange, Lake, Polk and Sumter counties (which comprise the district), and Gavriel Soriano, the third candidate in the Republican primary.
Brought by several Loomer supporters, at least one of whom, Michael Levine, was an active volunteer in her campaign, the lawsuit was originally filed Sept. 8 in Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit in Leon County. It has been amended twice since, once on Oct. 5 and a second time on Oct. 24. Webster also filed two motions for dismissal on Oct. 13, which was granted, and then Oct. 31. A Zoom hearing is scheduled for Nov. 7 at 2 p.m, the day before the general election, to consider Webster’s motion or allow the suit to continue.
The lawsuit alleges that “illegal” voting and “misconduct” and “maintenance of corrupted voter registrations” by county elections officials were sufficient enough to change the outcome of the primary. Loomer and fellow plaintiffs want the results overturned and a new primary held just between herself and Webster without Soriano.
The lawsuit targets Webster’s winning margin of 5,823 votes (Webster received 43,469 votes; Loomer, 37,647; Soriano 4,074). It claims that “thousands of illegal vote-by-mail (“VBM”) ballots were cast from undeliverable addresses,” and that "statistically significant numbers of people were either registered to vote without their consent, voted multiple times, or voted despite not being Florida residents.”
The lawsuit lays out how the VBM ballots that were sent to undeliverable addresses could have been used to vote:
They could only be voted if they were intercepted upon mailing at some point in their transit; the computer system was hacked; or, worse, staff misbehaved and changed the address in the computer system, mailed VBM ballots to an interloper third party to illegally cast someone else’s vote and then changed the address back again to its prior invalid mailing address. This would allow wrong doers [sic] to steal ballots that were not lawfully theirs, secure in the knowledge that there is no true voter who would be expecting to receive a ballot at a bad, invalid, undeliverable address on file. Or in the alternative, external hackers or internal staff could intentionally generate returned ballots by changing the address in the computer system so that on the return trip back to the elections office, the ballots could be intercepted on their way back from a failed delivery attempt.”
“I think it’s pretty obvious that local governments are not conducting elections properly,” Levine, one of the plaintiffs, said in a phone interview Wednesday. “The lawsuit does a pretty good job of demonstrating that these elected officials don’t take their responsibilities very seriously.” While pending litigation limited what Levine said he could divulge, he pointed to the state’s motor-voter program created by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which allows U.S. citizens to register to vote when they apply for their driver’s licenses. “There’s no way in the world that they’re vetting these applicants. Who would even imagine that they are?” he said.
Under the Real ID Act, enacted in 2005, the federal government strengthened national ID standards. Since 2010, Florida has required residents to verify their identities and residencies using a mix of documents, such as birth certificates, passports, social security cards, naturalization papers, certificate of citizenship as well as two documents that show residency, like a utility bill, mortgage or car statement. Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses have a star in the upper right corner.
Webster’s office did not respond to email or phone requests for comment. But his second motion filed Oct. 31 to dismiss the lawsuit states his position:
There’s no proof the ballots in question would have changed the election outcome.
The determination of whether a ballot is valid hinges on the signature verification process established by Florida law — not the address where the ballot was delivered.
Elections can’t be voided simply because election officials followed a law the plaintiffs deem “inadequate.”
The lawsuit also seeks to sideline Soriano, the other Republican challenger. He alerted VoxPopuli in a telephone interview Wednesday morning that he was named as a defendant in the amended lawsuit, after he was served with papers.
“I have no idea why they’re suing me,” Soriano said. “They’re saying she [Loomer] needs 5,000 some-odd votes to win. I got 4,000 some-odd votes. They want a runoff with her and Daniel Webster; and they don’t want me there. But it doesn’t say why I don’t have the right, as a candidate who was certified, why I don’t have the right to run if that were to happen. They just say Laura Loomer and Daniel Webster. But they don’t state why I’m being sued.”
Loomer did not respond to a request for comment.
The plaintiff’s attorney, John Pierce, of John Pierce Law in Woodland Hills, Calif., who represents many of the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill attackers, emailed VoxPopuli earlier this week that Soriano was named “to ensure there was no question that all key stakeholders had a seat at the table in the litigation. We are not alleging any wrongdoing on behalf of either Congressman Webster or Mr. Soriano.”
Soriano was still angry. “That seat at the table is a costly one — in real money and real time — forcing me to engage in a Loomer-rigged propaganda fiasco that has already cost her all credibility,” he texted. “That she should come to our district and seek to manipulate the voters, the patriots of this district, not only while running, but after losing as well, is utterly shameful, and it will not go unnoticed.”
Soriano, who did not know about the Nov. 7 hearing until VoxPopuli informed him, said he was responding to the lawsuit in writing, showing that he “didn’t do anything wrong.” He added that Loomer has “no proof of anything.”
“You know, Laura Loomer talks a lot about the election was stolen from me,” Soriano said. “But she engaged in things that she declared was election rigging, and she engaged in the very things that she claimed she was going to fight against. So I'm going to take the opportunity, in my response, to put that on the record.”
Asked for his comment, Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles emailed VoxPopuli earlier this week to say, “We will follow whatever the court directs us to do.”