Candidate says her last name starts with G. Elections office says it starts with T. She sues to change ballot.

1 Fort Lauderdale

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Claiming gender and ethnic discrimination by elections officials, a candidate for Miami City Commission has asked a judge to order new ballots printed that properly identify her surname and place it ahead of the names of her two competitors.

Denise Galvez Turros says she filed a complaint in circuit court Wednesday arguing that Miami’s city clerk erred when he identified her last name as Turros. Though her name is reflected on the ballot as “Denise Galvez Turros,” it was placed third after competitors Manuel “Manolo” Reyes and Ralph Rosado due to alphabetical ordering.

Galvez is among those who believe there’s a tactical advantage in being named first on the ballot. She also says women who add their husband’s surname after their maiden names upon marriage should be properly identified.

So with absentee ballots already going out in the mail, she is seeking an injunction blocking the further distribution of ballots until new ones can be printed with what she says is the proper ordering of the candidates. Before filing the lawsuit, she sought this month to have City Clerk Todd Hannon and the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections change the ballot.

“I truly believe this is important to any future Hispanic candidates and even any women who choose to run and have also kept their maiden names,” Galvez wrote.

Hannon declined to change the ballot after reviewing election law and speaking with elections officials at the county and state. He said precedent set by the handling of previous ballots holds that hyphenated last names be ordered based on the first of the two surnames, and that names without a hyphen be ordered based on the last of the two names. He also noted that Galvez didn’t specify by which name she wanted to be primarily identified on her qualifying documents.

“It is important to note that your name will appear on the ballot exactly as you provided ‘Denise Galvez Turros,’ Hannon wrote.

Galvez is represented by attorney Arthur J. Morburger. She is suing the supervisor of elections, her two opponents and the City of Miami.

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