EXCLUSIVE: Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor Illegally Entered Polling Station, Complaint Alleges

(Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for NRDC)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
Font Size:

Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor entered a library in Tampa, Florida, on Monday, Oct. 24, in violation of a state ban on electioneering inside polling stations, according to a ticket taken by a Hillsborough County elections worker.

Castor, an eight-term representative, is running against Republican James Judge in a district that she won by 20 points in 2020. Floridians began voting on Oct. 24, and nearly 3.6 million have already submitted mail-in ballots or voted early.

Castor entered the Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library on Oct. 24 for an interview with NBC affiliate WFLA. She explained to poll workers that “she was here to do some filming and that the film crew was right in front of us as we exited [through] our entrance door,” according to the ticket, obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller. Notably, Castor did not visit the library to cast her own ballot, and was promptly “escorted” out of the polling station by an elections clerk. (RELATED: Gov. Ron DeSantis Signs Sweeping Election Overhauls Into Law)

View the ticket here:

Jan Platt Redacted by Michael Ginsberg on Scribd

Florida law prohibits candidates and campaign workers from “soliciting voters inside the polling place or within 150 feet of a secure ballot intake station or the entrance to any polling place, a polling room where the polling place is also a polling room, an early voting site, or an office of the supervisor.” Violating those requirements is considered voter intimidation, a third-degree felony.

The Castor campaign did not immediately respond to the Caller’s request for comment on the matter. (RELATED: Gov. Ron DeSantis Signs Sweeping Election Overhauls Into Law)

Many states have laws prohibiting electioneering near polling stations. The practice, commonly known as line-warming, occasionally involves passing out campaign-branded gifts and snacks. Democrats criticized the state of Georgia’s new ban on electioneering at length, claiming that the prohibition was part of “Jim Crow 2.0,” despite the fact that blue states like New York and Delaware also outlaw line-warming.

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has repeatedly emphasized election integrity issues. He supported legislation in 2021 prohibiting ballot-harvesting and private funding of election offices. Florida’s Office of Election Crimes and Security, created by DeSantis, charged 20 people with election fraud in August. At least one of the defendants has had his charges dismissed.

“Election integrity is a very serious issue. However, it’s laughable when Democrats are the ones bringing it up. Year after year, election after election, they’re the biggest offenders of election laws,” Judge said in a statement to the Daily Caller. “When was the last time you heard about a Republican violating election laws? I would say that I am shocked that my opponent reportedly violated the law; however, this is where we’re at these days.”

“Democrats, particularly those in office, believe the law does not apply to them,” Judge continued. “It’s ‘rules for thee, and not for me.’ It’s outrageous and a career politician like her clearly knows better, but she doesn’t believe those laws apply to her,”

Like every other House Democrat, Castor supported the HR1 “For The People” Act, which would nationalize election laws. The package, which died in the Senate, would prohibit states from implementing voter ID requirements, mandate the legality of ballot harvesting and automatically register all 16-year-olds to vote. Castor claimed that the legislation was necessary to fight “rampant voter suppression” and “end the dominance of big money in politics.”