Democratic candidates, elections official, government watchdog group say Florida’s elections are secure following Gov. DeSantis’ announcement revealing alleged fraud in 2020 election

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 6:44 PM EDT
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ORLANDO (Gray DC) - Election security is making headlines less than a week before Florida holds its primary Election Day. However, Democratic candidates, elections officials and government watchdog groups say it is not as big of a deal as Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) is making it out to be. Though the groups are pointing out other challenges going into the primary.

“Nobody’s more interested in election security than supervisors of elections, frankly,” said Mark Earley, the supervisor of elections for Leon County and the president of the Florida Supervisors of Elections, the association that oversees all 67 county supervisors.

Early says while he supports accountability measures, there is not a large, coordinated effort to undermine Florida’s elections.

“What we are seeing is a lot of pressure from outside groups that are certain that there’s massive, coordinated fraud. And what that’s doing is really hampering our ability to get our jobs done,” Earley said.

On Thursday, Gov. DeSantis announced the new Office of Election Crimes and Security found 20 convicted felons in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties allegedly committed voter fraud by voting in the 2020 election.

DeSantis said, “There’s going to be other grounds for other prosecutions in the future. They are disqualified from voting because they’ve been convicted of either murder or sexual assault.”

Meanwhile, good government groups like Common Cause Florida say some voters have come to them with confusion about casting their ballots because of new state laws restricting mail-in voting.

“We’ve also seen that in many cases, in counties where under the Voting Rights Act they’re required to have signage and materials in both Spanish and English, that we haven’t seen the same level of signage in Spanish,” said Amy Keith, CCF’s program director.

Also, the two top Democratic gubernatorial candidates, Congressman Charlie Crist and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, say DeSantis should focus more on helping millions of voters cast a ballot rather than penalizing a handful of people.

“Well we all want secure elections but it’s funny that the governor came out right after the last presidential election and said it was one of the best elections we had,” said Crist.

“Unfortunately, he’s now spending taxpayer dollars to go and create this election police for one purpose and one purpose only. And that is to suppress votes and to intimidate individuals at the ballot box,” said Fried.

And as far as any concerns about hackers hacking into voting machines, Earley says he has not seen or heard of any cases. He added all ballots are also recounted during post-election audits.

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