In defense of his administration's recent announcement that 20 ex-felons illegally voted during the 2020 election, Gov. Ron DeSantis made it clear when it comes to upholding election integrity, his eyes aren’t just on voters.
"There are some local jurisdictions, they just don't care about the election laws. We do and we think it's important," the governor, who's up for reelection in November, said during a recent press conference.
Then he went even further.
"If you're not able to run an election right then we want to be able to hold people accountable, so stay tuned for that,” the governor said, seemingly directing his sentiment at the state's 67 Supervisors of Elections.
"It's unfortunate. I think it was politically motivated and I hate to say that," Mark Earley, supervisor of elections in Leon County, home to the state's capitol, said.
Earley also leads Florida's Association for Election Supervisors. These elected officials are tasked with administering elections in each county across the state.
Earley doesn’t believe the governor's choice of words was an accident.
"Those statements certainly make it more difficult to get our jobs done. We're already in an environment stemming from the 2020 election where we're under more threats and harassment," Earley said.
In recent months, DeSantis has raised liberal eyebrows by removing several high-profile Democratic elected leaders from their posts. Those removals included Andrew Warren, former State Attorney in Hillsborough County after he pledged he wouldn’t prosecute abortion cases.
Then, at the end of August, DeSantis also removed four school board members in Broward County after a grand jury investigating the aftermath of the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School determined the school board members were incompetent.
After suspending all these elected leaders from office, DeSantis replaced them with his own hand-selected conservative appointees.
The governor has acknowledged recent elections in our state, including the 2020 presidential election, went off with only a few glitches, Earley fears the governor is laying the groundwork for more suspensions, only this time it will be someone who shares his rank as a supervisor of election.
"It certainly was not a vote of confidence in supervisors," Earley said in response to the governor's remarks. "It's disheartening. This rhetoric needs to quit."
In response, a governor's spokesperson said they have no announcements to make about election supervisors at this time and those who are properly doing their jobs and following the law have nothing to worry about.