TAMPA, Fla. - The president of the Florida’s election oversight group weighed in Wednesday night on Governor Ron DeSantis’ emergency executive order regarding the state’s upcoming elections.
In a statement to FOX 13 News, Florida Supervisors of Elections president Craig Latimer says the order does not go far enough to ensure that Floridians are safe and have adequate access to the ballot box.
The executive order is aimed at granting flexibility to counties where election officials are concerned about how the COVID-19 outbreak will affect the upcoming elections in August and November. Specifically, there’s been concern about being able to recruit poll workers amid safety concerns.
The governor will now allow election officials in all 67 counties to process mail-in ballots earlier than what is normally allowed, under Florida law. The order also encourages schools to close on election day so that they can be used as polling locations. Additionally, school employees are encouraged to serve as poll workers.
In a chilly response to the move, Latimer’s office said the order, "Comes at a point when many of the state’s supervisors of elections have already solidified their plans for the August primary election."
The statement went on to essentially say that Desantis is not making the accommodations recommended in early April by Florida’s Supervisors of Elections. Specifically, they had been pushing to add an extra week for early voting. They were also asking to relocate or consolidate polling places.
“Election experts made recommendations to the governor of what needed to be done so that we could run safe and healthy elections for in-person voting,” Latimer said in late May, weeks before the executive order, “And I would hope that the governor would accept these recommendations and move on them.”
Now that the governor has moved on the recommendations, Latimer's office says it's too little too late. Florida’s Supervisors of Elections say they are now reviewing the governor's executive order to see how it may affect their plans for the primary and general elections.