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Access Denied

DeSantis admin says DOJ election monitors can't access Florida polling sites

Officials working under Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) are attempting to block the Department of Justice from sending election monitors to polling stations in South Florida, claiming that their presence goes against state laws, The Washington Post reports. 

The Justice Department announced Monday that it planned to send federal monitors to 64 jurisdictions nationwide to monitor the election process. Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach were among the counties listed as recipients of federal monitors from the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. 

Chief counsel for the Florida Department of State, Brad McVay, responded to the announcement later that day in a letter, stating that those monitors were not allowed access to the polling places under Florida law, the Post reports.

"Florida statutes list the people who 'may enter any polling room or polling place,'" McVay wrote. "Department of Justice personnel are not included on the list."

Instead, McVay said the Florida secretary of state's office would provide monitors in the three counties that typically lean towards the Democrats, per the Post. He also noted that Justice Department monitors do not qualify for the exception in Florida law that allows law enforcement access to polling places.

"Absent some evidence concerning the need for federal intrusion, or some federal statute that preempts Florida law, the presence of federal law enforcement inside polling places would be counterproductive and could potentially undermine confidence in the election," McVay added.

The Justice Department responded, stating that it received the letter from the DeSantis administration and still has election monitors stationed outside of Florida polling sites.