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McGraw’s lawsuit against Governor DeSantis fails; judge rules that the governor was authorized to declare a vacancy for her seat

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

A lawsuit filed by former School Board Member Diyonne McGraw against Governor Ron DeSantis, asking a judge to decide whether the governor’s declaration of a vacancy in her seat was an unconstitutional abuse of executive power, was closed today when Judge Monica Brasington denied McGraw’s petition.

Brasington found that Florida Statutes direct the governor to issue an executive order (as he did with Executive Order 21-147) declaring a vacancy when he has reason to believe there is a vacancy in an elective office. She also found that according to Florida Statutes, a vacancy occurs “upon the officer’s failure to maintain residence required of him or her by law” and that “residency is a central and fundamental requirement that must be met for any individual to lawfully serve on a school board.” Brasington further found that the evidence that McGraw had not met the residence requirement is “indisputable” and “uncontroverted.”

Brasington goes on to write that the governor’s Executive Order was not only authorized but “necessary to begin the process of filling the office with a qualified resident.” She concludes that “The Governor’s declaration that there was a vacancy of the Alachua County School Board District 2 seat was neither an unconstitutional abuse of executive power nor an improper encroachment on the powers reserved to the judiciary.”

The order, which can be read here, closes the case.

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