Florida pushes back against DOJ election monitors inside polling sites

Election officials say the move is not meant to be “confrontational” as they join with Missouri in protesting the action by DOJ.

“Both the state of Missouri, the state of Florida, when they told us they wanted to go into our polling places, we wanted to make it clear that those are places for election workers and voters — not for anyone else,” Byrd told reporters Tuesday.

The DOJ is sending watchers to polling sites in Democratic strongholds of Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties as part of an expanded effort in 64 jurisdictions nationwide to ensure compliance with federal voting rights laws. It’s a notable increase from the presidential election two years ago when DOJ sent monitors to 44 jurisdictions in 18 states.

The Justice Department declined to comment on the letter Tuesday morning. But a spokesperson did say that DOJ officials will monitor outside polling locations in Florida.

Byrd said Tuesday that the DOJ can “certainly” watch polls from outside, as they have in previous election cycles.

“They wanted to be inside the polling places, and they couldn’t provide a reason to be there, nor any statutory authority for them to be there,” Byrd said. “So, we asked them that they respect Florida law.”

“This is not to be confrontational in any way.”

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