After traveling Thursday to Southwest Florida to get a glimpse of the damage caused by Hurricane Ian, Gov. Ron DeSantis

British Newspaper’s Reporting On Voting Changes In Central Florida Debunked

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office on Monday hit back at yet other media lie about the Republican incumbent.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office on Monday hit back at yet other media lie about the Republican incumbent.

At issue, this time, was a recent report by The Guardian, a left-wing British paper.

The Guardian recapped a story by The Washington Post about voting in Central Florida following Hurricane Ian.

As The Free Press reported last week, DeSantis issued an executive order that relaxed some voting rules in hard-hit Charlotte, Lee, and Sarasota counties.

Among other temporary changes, the governor’s order extended the number of days for early voting and designated additional early voting locations in those communities.

It also permitted voters in those counties to request by phone that their main-in ballot be sent to an address other than the one in their file, provided they showed an appropriate form of identification.

The Guardian, however, saw something different — but it did so because its reporter did not bother, or want, to look.

“Anger as DeSantis eases voting rules in Republican areas hit by hurricane,” its headline read. That was followed by the subheadline, “Executive order makes voting easier in Florida’s Lee, Charlotte and Sarasota counties but not in Democratic Orange county.”

Citing the Post, The Guardian noted Orange County, “a Democratic-leaning area which experienced historic flooding from the storm, received no voting exceptions.”

The paper then quoted Jasmine Burney-Clark, founder of a voting rights group called Equal Ground, who said, “Tens of thousands of Floridians have been displaced, and today’s executive order fails to meet the moment and ensure voting access for all Florida voters. Instead, Governor DeSantis is politicizing a natural disaster.” 

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Except he wasn’t.

Had the Guardian reporter bothered to read something other than the Post, she would have learned that those counties got such relief because they requested it.

Orange County, and others throughout Central Florida, did not.

On Thursday, the same day the Post’s story was published, the Orlando Sentinel covered the same topic.

The Sentinel contacted elections officials in Seminole, Osceola, Lake, and Orange counties.

As the paper reported, “Central Florida elections supervisors said they did not need the special provisions those counties [Charlotte, Lee, and Sarasota] are receiving.”

As for Orange County specifically, the Sentinel noted, “All 20 early voting sites in Orange County were available, Orange elections chief Bill Cowles said.”

DeSantis spokesman Bryan Griffin pointed out the Guardian’s falsehood on Twitter on Monday. He noted the lack of requests for special voting provisions went beyond the Orlando area.

“Supervisors outside of these three counties made no such requests and, in fact, have made statements about their readiness for the election (including Collier, Volusia, Osceola, Manatee, and Orange). This is easily and publicly verifiable,” Griffin tweeted.

“Another false narrative,” Griffin added.

But as conservatives in Florida well understand when it comes to DeSantis, if the media didn’t have a false narrative, they would have no narrative at all.

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