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..
Attorney and Vice Chairman of the Election Integrity Subcommittee