DeSantis Wants to Bar Federal Election Monitors From Florida’s Bluest Counties

Far proper Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is making an attempt to bar federal displays from having the ability to enter polling locations in Florida to make sure federal election legal guidelines are being adopted in a few of the state’s most Democratic-leaning counties, saying that solely his administration’s supposed election displays can be allowed in.

Because of uncertainty and worry round election security as armed right-wing vigilantes have swarmed early polling locations, the Justice Department (DOJ) introduced that it could be growing the variety of polling locations it should ship officers to observe from 44 in 2020 to 64 this yr. The DOJ’s list of polling locations contains three counties in Florida — Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Seaside — which have amongst the highest concentrations of Democrats within the state.

The aim of the DOJ officers’ presence, the company says, is to “monito[r] elections within the discipline in jurisdictions across the nation to guard the rights of voters.” It says that the company has monitored elections within the discipline in some capability because the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

However DeSantis’s administration sent an aggressively-worded letter to DOJ officers on Monday night time, signed by Florida Division of State Chief Counsel Brad McVay, saying that Florida officers is not going to enable federal displays to enter the polling websites, regardless that Florida does give different “legislation enforcement” officers entry to polling locations.

As a substitute, the letter mentioned, the Florida Division of State — which is below DeSantis’s jurisdiction — would “ship its personal displays to the three focused jurisdictions” to supposedly guarantee “there is no such thing as a interference within the voting course of.”

The DeSantis administration’s definition of “interference” with voting is probably going vastly completely different from that of federal officers. Republicans have spent the final two years loudly spewing lies about huge quantities of election fraud throughout the nation — regardless of there being zero proof of such fraud — to justify disenfranchising voters and destabilizing elections.

Claims of so-called election interference from the best have been used as an excuse for armed vigilante teams to present as much as polling locations in Arizona to intimidate voters or for lawmakers to pass dozens of voter suppression payments. That is all within the service, it seems, of guaranteeing that Republicans by no means lose elections once more so the U.S. may be below a fascist one-party rule.

Over the previous few months, DeSantis has been on the forefront of a few of the most aggressively fascist anti-voting initiatives amongst Republicans nationwide; earlier this yr, as an illustration, Republicans within the Florida legislature handed a invoice at DeSantis’s behest that enables him to nominate his personal election police pressure.

These police have been used to intimidate voters who’ve been convicted of felonies — even when they’re nonetheless eligible to vote — as a means to scare away previously incarcerated folks from making an attempt to vote or register to vote.

Earlier this yr, DeSantis additionally ousted an elected official from workplace for criticizing him, appointing a far proper ally in his place. The choice is being challenged in court docket, however even when it’s overturned, the transfer is a present of DeSantis’s willingness to train his energy in more and more undemocratic methods to relax dissent in his state.