MIAMI - A judge has ruled that a recall election of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez will go forward.
Alvarez had filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of more than 100,000 petitions signed to bring the recall election about.
After a two-hour court hearing Friday morning, a Miami-Dade circuit judge ruled that the petitions are valid and that the recall election can move forward.
Alvarez had argued that the petitions collected by auto dealer Norman Braman had technical flaws that rendered them invalid. The judge said the petitions might have some flaws, but that they complied with the law.
"I respect the judge's ruling, and quite frankly, I'm looking forward to an election," Alvarez said. "We are not going to appeal the judge's ruling. We had our first meeting yesterday to get ready for our campaign. Early voting starts Monday, and I'm looking forward to it. I want the people to decide. This was something that I felt I had to do for the integrity of the process, not for me in particular, but for the future recalls or referendums or whatever and make it clear. Quite frankly, I'm looking forward to an election, and we're not going to appeal anything."
"I'm very pleased that finally the people of this community will have an opportunity to say something," Braman said. "That's what this whole thing is all about. I just urge everyone, just come out and vote. If you believe the community deserves a new path, then vote yes for recall. If you're happy and satisfied with the way things are, then vote no. Just come out and vote. Today was a decision for the people of this community."
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Natacha Seijas' name also will appear on the ballot after she withdrew a similar lawsuit Thursday. Seijas said she dropped the suit because the absentee ballots were already out and early voting was scheduled to begin Monday, and she did not want to cause confusion among voters.
The recall election is scheduled for March 15. Early voting begins Monday. For more information, visit the Miami-Dade County Elections website.
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