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Scott Pressures Monroe County Supervisor To Accept New Law

Florida Governor Rick Scott is hinting he’s prepared to remove the Monroe County Supervisor of elections if the supervisor doesn’t agree to implement the state’s new early voting times. A federal court has said they’ll likely approve the state’s new law for the five counties still operating under the old law if  the supervisors agree to hold early voting during the maximum number of hours allowed. So far all but one supervisor have agreed to do so.

Scott  said he’s willing to take “all necessary actions” to make sure the supervisors of elections are upholding the state’s elections law. He talked with reporters after making what some are calling “veiled threats” in a statement Tuesday.

“The court has said they want to make sure that the five counties that are under the voting rights act have the 96 hours, I’m going to make sure that happens,” Scott said.

The five Florida counties in question are Hillsborough, Collier, Hardee, Hendry and Monroe Counties. They’re covered by the Voting Rights Act because of a history of discrimination, meaning the federal government has to approve, or give pre-clearance, for any changes in the state’s voting laws before the changes can be implemented in those counties. Last week, the federal court denied pre-clearance for the early voting changes, but Department of State spokesman Chris Cate said there’s a chance the law could still be okayed.

“The ruling said that if supervisors of elections in the pre-clearance counties wanted to use the maximum number of hours allowed under the state law, then the court would likely approve them to do so,” Cate said.

Meanwhile, Monroe County Supervisor, Harry Sawyer said he has no plans to back down to the governor’s push.  He said right now the state’s new voting law hasn’t been pre-cleared, so he has no plans to agree to implement it. He said the governor’s statement doesn’t make sense at this point. Sawyer, a Republican, is getting support from Democrat leaders in the state.