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384 Feet From Qualified: Florida Governor Removes Alachua County School Board Member Diyonne McGraw From Seat

Seven months after a contested election decided by less than 3,000 votes, the 2020 Alachua County School Board District 2 race took a dramatic turn Thursday night.

Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order declaring incumbent Diyonne McGraw's seat vacant. The move followed several weeks of activist and legal efforts to challenge her ability to represent a district that she — albeit just barely — does not reside in.

A group earlier this month started an online petition to remove District 2 board member McGraw from office because she technically lives in District 4.

A lawsuit followed, filed by her November election opponent and concerned residents.

"It has recently come to light that Ms. McGraw's residence is not located in District 2. In fact, it is located in District 4. That makes her ineligible to hold the District 2 office," said Jeff Childers, the attorney for the plaintiffs.

WUFT News found McGraw's home is 384 feet inside District 4 - five houses down from the boundary that would have qualified her for the seat.

"Diyonne McGraw is very qualified to represent District 2. She owns three properties in District 2. She thought one of them was on the border with District 2," said Jackie Davis, a McGraw supporter.

McGraw's status was one of the main focuses during public comment at this week's school board meeting, with community members standing outside the chamber in protest.

Anthony is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397.