Former Congressman David Rivera lost his battle to return to the Florida House of Representatives Tuesday after state elections officials certified that he had lost to Democrat Robert Asencio by 53 votes and Asencio was sworn in to the District 118 seat.
The Florida Canvassing Board, headed by Secretary of State Ken Detzner, on Tuesday certified that the recount of ballots conducted last week by Miami Dade elections officials was legitimate and certified Asencio as the victor.
Rivera, a Republican who first served in the state Legislature from 2000-2008, had filed a formal challenge with the House, alleging that Asencio should not be seated because the state has not reviewed about 112 vote-by-mail ballots that were rejected because of mismatched signatures. He produced affidavits from 59 people who said they had voted by mail and wanted their ballots counted.
But during the House’s post-election organizational session on Tuesday, the House unanimously rejected Rivera’s claim, concluding he did not properly allege any irregularity with the vote tally. The review of affidavits from a selective set of voters would have been unprecedented in a race that did not involve fraud.
“There is no assertion and no evidence submitted that the Miami-Dade canvassing board did not fully follow applicable law and rules,’’ said Rep. Larry Metz, R-Umatilla, who moved to dismiss Rivera’s challenge. “..In other words, there was no allegation of any irregularity in canvassing or tabulating vote-by-mail or provisional ballots cast by the Miami-Dade canvassing board.”