House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee wrote a letter to members of the Florida congressional delegation urging them to hold hearings to ensure the nation’s polling sites are properly staffed this November.
“I write so that you will encourage Chairman [Jerry] Nadler to hold a hearing on election preparedness — particularly in Florida,” McGhee wrote.
“Sadly, as we approach the 55th anniversary of the House Judiciary Committee passing the Voting Rights Act (July 9, 1965), we are still dealing with voter suppression. Thank you for your support. Let’s make every Florida vote count!”
The letter was addressed to U.S. Reps. Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Matt Gaetz and Greg Steube.
McGhee also sent the letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis. McGhee suggested a portion of the state’s National Guard be trained on how to serve as poll workers on Election Day.
“They should be ready for deployment — dressed in civilian clothes and protective gear — and be on standby, particularly in the major metropolitan areas where the longest delays or unforeseen poll closings might occur.”
McGhee was particularly concerned about the scene in Georgia last week. Several precincts had long lines where voters waited hours to cast their vote. McGhee says he’s concerned such a situation in Florida could drive people away from voting in this election.
“There’s simply too much at risk for me to sit back, stay quiet, and hope it all works out,” McGhee added in a separate statement.
“Florida is the largest swing state in the country, and we could very easily be the deciding voice in the election. Local, state and federal officials must act now to protect the safety and sanctity of our vote. It is the fundamental building block of our democracy and must be safeguarded. To Floridians: we hear you, we will do everything in our power to protect your vote.”
The letter follows separate correspondence McGhee sent to U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, who chairs the Committee on Oversight and Reform.
McGhee asked Maloney to review whether the U.S. Postal Service is prepared for the upcoming election.
Some leaders around the country have pushed for increased access to vote by mail, given ongoing concerns about gathering in public during the COVID-19 outbreak. Florida Democrats have advocated the same, pushing for a full vote-by-mail system.
The state does have an absentee system where voters can request a ballot for any reason. Officials do not automatically send those ballots to all voters, however.