Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ office has returned fire on media allegations that its recent ease of voting restrictions in the three counties hit hardest by Hurricane Ian was due to the fact that these areas are Republican.
On Thursday, DeSantis announced an emergency executive order that expanded access to mail-order voting and early voting availability in Charlotte, Lee and Sarasota counties after they suffered severe damage from the Category 4 storm.
In reporting on the order, many mainstream media outlets, including the Washington Post and the Guardian, hinted that, as these three counties are Republican-majority, a decision was made to help DeSantis’ chances in the midterm elections. .
In a statement provided Monday to Fox News Digital, Gov. Bryan Griffin’s press secretary denied that this move was politically motivated and insisted that these counties themselves require special arrangements, while others do not.
MEDIA BLAST DESANTIS LOOSES ELECTRICAL RULES IN AREAS HARDEST HURTED BY Hurricane IAN BECAUSE THEY ARE MORE REPUBLIC
“The Department of State has corresponded and consulted with supervisors in every county affected by Hurricane Ian. The supervisors in Charlotte, Lee and Sarasota counties are the only ones who have requested provisions, even in writing, to waive certain requirements in order to provide voters with adequate voting opportunities, “the statement reads.
He continued: “When you compare the reports of voting preparedness in other counties with those in the three that have been granted emergency aid, the distinction is clear.”
The response also cited letters sent by supervisors in these counties highlighting concerns about voter access for mid-term elections.
Lee County reported: “Several established polling stations no longer exist.” Charlotte County replied that “about a third of our voting locations [sic] were damaged. “Sarasota County expressed concern over” the viability of some polling stations “and” a shortage of polling workers. “
Additionally, Griffin provided several examples of election supervisors in the counties surrounding these areas who said they were prepared for the November election.
Media criticism of DeSantis’ order pointed to Orange County as an area that faced “historic floods” and leaned on Democrats but received no exemptions.
Orange County election supervisor Bill Cowles, a Democrat, told local media that all 20 voting sites were available.
Manatee County Election Supervisor Mike Bennett said, “I don’t expect any problems” with the upcoming election, despite Manatee County being just north of Sarasota.
Collier County, a county that DeSantis had originally won by 30 points, also did not request voting assistance despite being south of Lee.
“He’s tall and dry,” supervisor Jennifer Edwards told The New York Times on Oct.4.
LIBERALS MERGED AFTER DESANTIS ANNOUNCED THAT ‘NATIONAL REGIME MEDIA’ WANTED HURRICANE IAN TO HIT TAMPA
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Some mainstream media previously attacked the Florida governor blaming him for the Lee County late evacuation order. DeSantis himself dismissed media attention on the Lee County evacuation order on Oct. 2, pointing out that the storm was initially supposed to hit Tampa.
“Well, where was your industry stationed when the storm came?” DeSantis replied. “Were you in Lee County? No, you were in Tampa.”