Former McGraw opponent files complaint in residency flap

A complaint filed Wednesday claims that the District 2 School Board of Alachua County (SBAC) seat should be ruled vacant and that board member Diyonne McGraw should cease attending meetings and voting.

“There is a bona fide present controversy over whether Defendant McGraw is qualified to serve in the District 2 School Board seat, and whether there is a vacancy on the School Board at the District 2 School Board seat,” says the complaint, which attorney Jeff Childers filed at the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court in Alachua County. 

McGraw narrowly won her seat on the school board with 52 percent of the vote against Khanh-Lien Roberts Banko. Banko is named as the plaintiff in the complaint, along with three Alachua County registered voters: Marlon Bruce, Thomas Cowart and Richard McNeill.

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The complaint names McGraw, the Alachua County Election and Canvassing Board, and Supervisor of Elections Kim A. Barton as defendants.

Diyonne McGraw

“Plaintiff Khanh-Lien Roberts Banko is a registered voter in Alachua County, Florida, a resident of District 2, and was the candidate for the District 2 School Board seat who received the second highest number of votes in the [August] 2020 Alachua County elections,” the complaint states. “Defendant Election Canvassing Board for Alachua County (“Canvassing Board”) certified Defendant McGraw as the successful candidate with the most votes for District 2 in the November 2020 Alachua County election.

“Defendant Kim A. Barton, in her capacity as Supervisor of Elections for Alachua County, Florida (“Supervisor of Elections”), qualified Defendant McGraw as a candidate for the District 2 School Board seat, and certified Defendant McGraw as the successful candidate with the most votes for District 2 in the November 2020 Alachua County election.”

The complaint asks court to declare McGraw is unqualified to hold the District 2 School Board office and that there is a vacancy for the District 2 seat.

It also requests that the court instructs McGraw to stop casting any more votes as a member of the SBAC and stop attending any meetings as a member.

“McGraw continues to improperly occupy the District 2 seat and vote as if she were legally a member,” the complaint states. “Each additional vote she takes further damages the Plaintiffs and the rest of the electorate in and for Alachua County.”

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