Donald Trump’s campaign registered 46 poll watchers for Election Day in Miami-Dade, making him the only candidate with the ability to have official eyes and ears around voting booths across the county, according to election supervisors.
A list released Tuesday by the Miami-Dade Elections Department showed Trump with 46 registered poll watchers and none for any of the other candidates. That gives the Trump organization nearly four dozen people authorized to stand within voting areas and monitor activities for the campaign.
Juan Fiol, vice chairman of Trump’s Miami-Dade campaign, said the hearty roster of poll watchers came from a surge of local residents eager to work for the GOP frontrunner. “We have more volunteers than anybody else,” said Fiol, a real estate agent in West Kendall. “A lot of people ask to volunteer.”
Trump’s monopoly on Miami-Dade’s poll-watcher ranks leaves him dominating Sen. Marco Rubio on that front in Rubio’s home county. A spokesman for the Rubio campaign was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday. Trump also had the poll-watcher list to himself in neighboring Broward County, where his campaign registered 60 volunteers to watch the polls compared to zero for the other campaigns.
J.C. Planas, a veteran elections lawyer for Republican campaigns in Miami-Dade, said campaigns usually skip poll watchers in primary contests but recruit them for general elections. But he said he advises campaigns to utilize them whenever possible.
“Poll watching provides verification that the process is running smoothly,” said Planas, an adjunct professor of elections law at St. Thomas University. “I consider it an important part of an campaign’s legal strategy to make sure that the process is fair.”