Nikki Fried asks the federal government to monitor electoral activities in Florida | Florida News | Tampa

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Incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republican leaders are trying to “circumvent or override Democratic standards.” Agriculture Commissioner and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried is calling on the federal government to monitor Florida’s election activities.

In a letter she sent Monday to Kristen Clarke, Assistant U.S. Attorney General for Civil Rights, Fried called on the Justice Department to closely monitor the election-related actions of Florida officials and ” take appropriate federal action if necessary.”

In doing so, Fried expressed a preemptive concern for the integrity of the general election, which could lead him to challenge DeSantis.

His letter follows a similar letter, with accusations and a similar call to action, that his Democratic gubernatorial opponent, Rep. Charlie Crist, sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland last week.

Fried cited what she called “discriminatory congressional maps, new voter suppression measures, and a secretary of state with radical far-right views.” The latter charge referred to Cord Byrd, a former three-term Neptune Beach Republican.

She specifically cited SB 90 and another measure establishing Florida’s new election police force. She also explicitly sued Byrd and his wife, Esther Byrd, who was recently appointed to the State Board of Education.

“Secretary Byrd and his wife, also named by DeSantis, have made supportive comments regarding far-right fringe elements such as QAnon and the Proud Boys and defended those involved in the insurgency,” Fried charged.

She called the list of actions she was referring to a threat to civil rights in Florida.

“These actions, recently highlighted by the Florida Supreme Court’s refusal to hear a challenge to Governor Ron DeSantis’ blatantly discriminatory hand-crafted Congressional maps, illustrate a deliberate attempt to undermine the will of the people and ‘enshrine one-party rule in the state,’ Fried wrote.

“As an independently elected member of the Florida Cabinet, I have a duty to alert your office and our federal partners to these concerning events,” Fried added.

Fried or Crist would likely be involved in the election, winning the Democratic primary for governor. In the polls, she and Crist are well ahead of State Senator Annette Taddeo in this contest.

The winner would face DeSantis in the November general election.

This article first appeared on Florida Politics.

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