Florida attempts to block DOJ election monitors in 3 counties

DeSantis administration official says the monitors are a violation of state law.

Loading the player...

An official in the administration of Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is looking to subvert U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) election monitors from observing three counties and their voting processes.

The Department of State’s head lawyer claims in a letter that the DOJ’s intended observation of the polling places is a violation of state law.

On Monday (Nov. 7), the DOJ announced that it would send election monitors to 64 jurisdictions across 24 states for the general election. This is not a new process. In fact, the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division has carried it out since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 became law. The duty of the monitors is to observe polling places and ensure that voters’ rights are protected.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis
An official in the administration of Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (pictured ) is looking to subvert Department of Justice election monitors who are to observe three counties and their voting processes. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In Florida, the federal monitors will observe voting in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. 

The Washington Post reported that Brad McVay — citing state law — asserted that the federal monitors are not allowed inside polling places. McVay added that Florida’s secretary of state office will employ monitors of its choosing to observe the polling places instead. 

“Florida statutes list the people who ‘may enter any polling room or polling place’,” McVay wrote in the letter addressed to John “Bert” Russ, deputy chief & elections coordinator, voting section, Civil Rights Division. “Department of Justice personnel are not included on the list.”

On Tuesday, the DOJ said it read McVay’s letter but will still have monitors in place to observe all polling stations in the three aforementioned counties. The DOJ reiterated in its Monday letter the Civil Rights Division’s local election-monitoring history.

As the Post noted, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach are all Democratic Party-dominant counties. Republican Party officials nationwide have made unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud since the 2020 elections despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Meanwhile, DeSantis is fighting off a challenge from former governor and more recently former Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, who served as Florida’s 44th governor from 2007 to 2011. He lost the seat to former Gov. Rick Scott.

Other key races in Florida include two U.S. House seats. One is District 13, Crist’s former territory covering St. Petersburg and surrounding regions. Currently, Republican candidate Anna Paulina Luna and Democratic opponent Eric Lynn are locked in a tight race for the seat. Luna is an Air Force veteran, while Lynn is a former national security advisor to former President Barack Obama.

TheGrio is now on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. Also, please download theGrio mobile apps today!