Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s administration delivered last-minute guidance to local election officials recommending measures that voting-rights advocates say could intimidate or confuse voters, the latest salvo in a pitched battle over who is able to cast ballots in a state crucial to President Trump’s reelection.
In a notice sent to local election officials last week, Division of Elections Director Maria Matthews urged them to remove from the voter rolls people with felony convictions who still owe court fines and fees, a move that local officials said is impossible to accomplish before Election Day.
A second memo from Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee’s general counsel recommended that election staff or law enforcement guard all mail ballot drop boxes, a step that local election officials say is not required under the law.
Election officials said they do not have time or resources to implement either measure before the Nov. 3 election, and voting rights advocates cast the back-to-back missives as the latest effort by the Republican governor and Trump ally to impede access to the ballot box.
“They’re attempting to sow confusion,” Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters Florida said of the state’s instructions. She added: “The state of Florida doesn’t have a spotless record when it come to making sure voters have easy access to the polls.”