UPDATE: A DOJ spokesperson said officials would monitor outside polling locations in Florida.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — After the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would send monitors to observe voting in 24 states, officials in Florida and Missouri announced they would attempt to block monitors from entering polling locations. The Florida Department of State stated in a letter that federal election monitors would not be allowed to enter Florida polling places in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, while the Missouri attorney general said that he supports a local election official’s decision to block monitors from going inside polls in Cole County.
The Florida letter claims that “Department of Justice monitors are not permitted inside a polling place under Florida law.” Even if they were, the Florida Department of State argues that “the presence of federal law enforcement inside polling places would be counterproductive and could potentially undermine confidence in the election.” The letter concludes by stating that the Florida Department of State would “send its own monitors to the three targeted jurisdictions.”
Federal election monitors are a routine part of every election. As Marc Elias, founder of Democracy Docket, affirmed yesterday on MSNBC, “The federal government has an important role under federal law to ensure federal elections are conducted fairly and that voters are not being intimidated or otherwise harassed when voting.”