Florida objects to federal election monitors in polling places

Dept. of Justice wanted to send monitors to three counties

FILE - A sign that says "Vote" is placed outside of an early voting location Oct. 31, 2022, in Miami. Midterm elections are behind held on Nov. 8. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File) (Lynne Sladky, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

MIAMI – The U.S. Department of Justice routinely sends monitors to precincts around the country to make sure that Election Day is going smoothly, but on Monday Gov. Ron DeSantis’s administration objected to the oversight in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, according to News 6 partner WPLG.

Brad McVay, the Florida Department of State’s general counsel, sent a letter to John “Bert” Russ, the DOJ’s deputy chief and elections coordinator for the voting section civil rights division, saying the state had received copies of DOJ letters to the three counties.

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“Department of Justice monitors are not permitted under Florida law,” McVay wrote, citing state statutes about who is allowed to enter a polling place, which includes law enforcement.

McVay argued that U.S. Department of Justice personnel was not included in the list and referred to the monitors as a “federal intrusion” that “would be counterproductive and could potentially undermine confidence in the election.”

McVay alleged the DOJ’s letters to Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties provided “a non-exhaustive list of federal elections statutes as the basis for this action.” McVay also mentioned a phone call with Russ to ask for “specific authorization.”

McVay informed Russ that the Florida Department of State was also sending monitors to precincts in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

“These monitors will ensure that there is no interference with the voting process,” McVay wrote.

History of federal monitors’ visits to precincts in Florida counties

2012: Duval, Hendry, Hillsborough, Lee, Miami-Dade, Orange, and Osceola

2014: Duval, Hillsborough, Lee, and Orange

2016: Hillsborough, Lee, Miami-Dade, Orange, and Palm Beach

2018: DeSoto, Palm Beach, and Pinellas

2020: Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Orange, and Palm Beach

About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.