Press Releases

Florida Secretary of State Will Ask County Election Supervisors to Grant GAO Access to Florida Polling Places on Election Day

– Fla. Election official responds to request by Senators Feinstein, Kohl to grant GAO access as part of study examining poll access to disabled, aging voters –

Washington, DC –Florida Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning today responded to U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Herb Kohl (D-WI.), saying he will ask county election supervisors to grant the Government Accountability Office access to Florida polling places on Election Day as part of its nationwide study examining voting access for aging and disabled voters during the 2008 general election.  

Florida was the only state to completely deny the GAO entry to its polls on November 4. The GAO is examining states’ actions in facilitating voter access for people with disabilities and residents of long-term care facilities as part of a study requested by Senators Kohl and Feinstein. The GAO selected one hundred counties across the country as a representative sample of polling places, including four counties in Florida: Miami-Dade, Broward, Pinellas and Hillsborough.  

The senators wrote a letter to Browning on Tuesday, asking him to reconsider even if it meant permitting limited access to the GAO. In a letter dated today, Browning said that although Florida law doesn’t authorize the Secretary of State to grant GAO researchers access to enter Florida’s polling places, he would forward the request to the election supervisors in the four Florida counties and encourage them to grant the GAO access.  

“I’m pleased that Secretary Browning will encourage county election officials to grant the GAO access to polling places in Florida, a state which again will be crucial to the outcome of the presidential election,” said Senator Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. “We must do all we can to ensure that this nation’s election system is sound and that all voters, including the aging and disabled, have adequate access to the polls.” 

“Secretary Browning’s prompt response is encouraging, and we appreciate his support in this matter.  I’m hopeful that these individual counties will agree to cooperate,” said Senator Kohl, Chairman of the Special Committee on Aging.