Tensions are mounting between Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a staunch ally of Donald Trump, and election supervisors, two days before in-person voting begins in this crucial state.
Brad McVay, general counsel for the Florida State Department, emailed election supervisors in all 67 counties this week advising them of the requirement that all ballot boxes must be present at all times by election officials or an armed guard, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
While onerous, McVay says in-person action is needed to ensure drop boxes are protected from those who intend to harm the boxes (or the contents they contain).
It warns: A person on site can prevent foreign substances or small incendiary devices (such as firecrackers) from being thrown into the drop box; video surveillance cannot do the same.
But the supervisors’ representative body, the Florida Election Supervisors Association, effectively told them to ignore the directive, informing them that no state laws, statutes or regulations required them to comply.
A mail ballot box at the Broward County Election Supervisor’s office in Lauderhill, Florida. Photograph: Larry Marano / REX / Shutterstock
Drop boxes that are at the main office, branch or early voting site need to be secure, but I do not see that there are any staffing needs or hours of operation associated with these drop boxes. [in state law] the association’s general counsel, Ron Labasky, wrote in his own memo.
There is no definition of safe, so in my opinion it is within the discretion of the supervisor.
In South Florida, the three most populous counties, reports Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach has four drop boxes monitored by 24-hour video surveillance, Broward County has two, and Miami-Dade has only from day deposit facilities to 33 early bird locations which will be guarded from Monday.
Florida is known for its whistle-blowing and post-election lawsuits, and this latest row sets the stage for another controversial and controversial voting season.
Already this year, DeSantis and the Republicans who control the state legislature succeeded in rescinding a voter-approved voting initiative from 2018 that would have restored the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of former private criminals. their rights.
Nearly 2.5 million postal votes, a record for this stage of an electoral cycle, have already been submitted in Florida, with Democrats holding a sizable advantage. Trump needs Republican voters to show up in person in large numbers to capture the state and its 29 constituency votes, which most analysts say the president must win to get a second term.
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