• Miami GOP REC Election Integrity Vice Chair Expresses Dismay To SoS Byrd Regarding 'Election Integrity' Bill

    April 11, 2023
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    Attorney Ed Vidal, Vice Chair of the Miami-Dade REC Election Subcommittee sent the following email to FL Secretary of State Cord Byrd.


    Florida is supposed to be the "gold standard" of election integrity, but it is not, and one glaring example is new language in the proposed Election Integrity bill introduced by the Republican super-majority in the state legislature:

    " 2622 Section 36. Section 104.47, Florida Statutes, is created to

     2623  read:
     2624         104.47 Harassment of election workers.—
     2625         (1) For purposes of this section, the term “election
     2626  worker” means a member of a county canvassing board or an
     2627  individual who is an election official, poll worker, or election
     2628  volunteer in connection with an election conducted in this
     2629  state.
     2630         (2) It is unlawful for any person to intimidate, threaten,
     2631  coerce, harass, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, coerce, or
     2632  harass an election worker with the intent to impede or interfere
     2633  with the performance of the election worker’s official duties,
     2634  or with the intent to retaliate against such election worker for
     2635  the performance of official duties.
     2636         (3) A person who violates this section commits a felony of
     2637  the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s.
     2638  775.083."

    Seeing this new language in the proposed bill is very jarring to me, because it reflects a false progressive Democrat narrative that conservative Republican poll-watchers are somehow harassing election workers, and suppressing the vote, when we assert our rights to reasonable and meaningful access to the voting process.

    For many years, conservative Republicans (like myself) focused on our families and careers, but then in 2008 I saw that America was heading in the wrong direction, and the first thing I did was volunteer with the Republican National Lawyers Association for poll-watching. I had learned to do poll watching in Chicago during 1978, and for the next 30 years I focused on my career, but I have been a poll-watcher in every election cycle since 2008.

    Consistently, the reception of Republican poll-watchers by election workers, who are members of the administrative state and are part of the progressive Democrat apparatus, has been hostile. Every time I have walked into a polling place in my role as a roving attorney, especially when a potential violation has been reported, I have been met with cries of voter intimidation and suppression, simply because I wear my Republican lawyer uniform - - blue blazer, white shirt and red tie.

    The new provisions in the proposed bill will facilitate charges against us, especially against roving attorneys who may be supporting stationary poll watchers, or many times we are the only poll watchers available at all.

    If this provision is included, at least it should not be a felony at all, but at most a misdemeanor. We have nothing in the law now, other than the usual protection against attacks on election workers, and more protection is not needed. To provide such protection is to give in to a false progressive Democrat narrative.

    Almost anything can be interpreted to intimidate, threaten, coerce, or harass, or attempt to do any of those things, to an election worker, with the intent to impede or interfere. We should know by now that members of the administrative state are likely to make up almost anything to interfere with effective poll-watching.

    Also, election worker is broadly defined to include an election volunteer, which includes partisan campaign workers electioneering for a candidate or party. These are the most likely to bring false claims and exagerate the situation.

    We must recognize that there are times when poll-watchers are entitled to confront election workers with their wrong-doing, without fear of unreasonable retaliation.

    Please let me know how we can fight back to prevent this odious Section 36 from becoming law..


    Ed Vidal

    Attorney and Vice Chairman of the Election Integrity Subcommittee

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    Eduardo Vidal

    Eduardo Vidal is a lawyer and political activist. His family brought him when he was nine years old from Cuba to the USA, but now the rule of law has been eroded in the USA as well, and we are turning into Cuba and the rest of Latin America.

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