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Florida Bars DOJ Election Monitors From Polling Places

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

It's officially Election Day and the Department of Justice, led by Attorney General Merrick Garland, has dispatched a number of election monitors to polling locations across the country. 


"The Justice Department announced today its plans to monitor compliance with federal voting rights laws in 64 jurisdictions in 24 states for the Nov. 8, 2022 general election. Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Civil Rights Division has regularly monitored elections in the field in jurisdictions around the country to protect the rights of voters. The Civil Rights Division will also take complaints from the public nationwide regarding possible violations of the federal voting rights laws through its call center.  The Civil Rights Division enforces the federal voting rights laws that protect the rights of all citizens to access the ballot," DOJ released in a statement Monday. "For the general election, the Civil Rights Division will monitor for compliance with the federal voting rights laws on Election Day and/or in early voting in 64 jurisdictions."

But the Florida Department of State is barring DOJ election monitors from polling places in the Sunshine State. 

"Department of Justice monitors are not permitted under Florida law. Section 102.031(3)(a) of the Florida Statutes lists the people who 'may enter any polling room or polling place.' Department of Justice personnel are not included on the list. Even if they could qualify under 'law enforcement'...absent some evidence concerning the need for federal intrusion, or some federal stature that preempts Florida law, the presence of federal law enforcement inside polling places would be counterproductive and could potentially undermine confidence in the elections," Florida Department of State General Counsel Brad McVay wrote in a letter to DOJ Elections Coordinator John Russ. 


The Florida Department of State plans to send its own election monitors to the jurisdictions targeted by DOJ, which include Broward County, Miami-Dade County and Palm Beach County. 

“The Department has prepared for this election by strengthening election integrity so Florida voters can remain confident that their ballots will be counted accurately and on time,” Florida Secretary of State and Chief Election Officer Cord Byrd released in a statement Monday. “I have also visited with all 67 of Florida’s Supervisors of Elections and can confidently say that each Supervisor is ready to support their voters and administer a successful election.”

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