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Gov. DeSantis pushes back on Donald Trump’s claim that law enforcement will serve as poll watchers

Florida law prohibits law enforcement from serving as poll watchers.

Gov. Ron DeSantis┬ádismissed President Donald Trump‘s assertion Thursday that law enforcement will serve as poll watchers in the upcoming election.

Instead, DeSantis said civilian volunteers, not law enforcement, will be tasked with monitoring Florida’s polls.

“We don’t have any plans to be using them as poll watchers,” DeSantis told reporters in Tampa.

The Governor’s remarks come days after Trump told Fox News’s Sean Hannity he intends to send law enforcement to polling locations nationwide. The assertion came after Hannity asked Trump who would be present to detect fraud and verify that a ballot is a “real vote from a real American” at polling stations.

“We’re going to have everything,” Trump responded. “We’re going to have sheriffs, we’re going to have law enforcement, we’re going to have hopefully U.S. Attorneys, and we’re going to have everybody, and Attorney Generals.”

While DeSantis denied that police would be used as poll watchers, he did acknowledge the need for authorities to enforce election law.

“In terms of law enforcement … obviously, we have laws on the books about how elections should be run,” he said. “So if someone is running afoul of those, then obviously you can be somebody that can be held accountable. But in terms of the watching, I think that that’s done typically by either volunteers or personnel that are provided.”

Florida law allows for each political party and candidate to designate a poll watcher. It is illegal, however, for a poll worker to be a law enforcement officer.

A poll watcher is defined as a person who “observes the election process to see if any violation of the election laws occurs,” according to the St. Lucie County of Supervisor Elections website.

Secretary of State Laurel Lee is responsible for elections oversight in Florida’s 67 counties.

Written By

Jason Delgado is a state capital reporter at Florida Politics. After serving in the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at jason@floridapolitics.com or on Twitter at @_JasonDelgado.

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