Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher moved a polling place from a Boca Raton mosque to a city library after callers warned they’d try to block voting or even would call in a bomb threat, she explained Wednesday in her first public comment on the controversy.
“We began receiving complaints from voters,” she said Wednesday in an email to The Post Editorial Board for an editorial published on line Wednesday evening.
“Some felt uncomfortable voting at the Islamic Center,” the email continued. “When we received a call that indicated individuals planned to impede voting and maybe even call in a bomb threat to have the location evacuated on Election Day (no name was given during the call), we located the Spanish River Library which is two miles away from the center as an alternative voting location and I called the Center’s President.”
Bucher replied to the inquiry from the Editorial Board but for three days has not responded to a Post reporter’s phone calls and emails requesting details and comment.
Bucher last week switched the voting site for Precinct 4170 from the Islamic Center of Boca Raton to Boca Raton’s Spanish River Library, Bassem Alhalabi, the mosque’s president, told The Palm Beach Post on Monday.
On Tuesday, Boca Raton-area U.S. Reps. Lois Frankel and Ted Deutch issued statements suggesting the move was discriminatory. The county’s other two members of Congress, Reps. Alcee Hastings and Patrick Murphy, and U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, so far have not responded to requests for comment submitted Tuesday and Wednesday.
Also on Tuesday, Florida Family Association, a Tampa-based group that campaigns against Islamic-American relations urged people to support Bucher’s decision. The group said it was responding to “pressure” being put on Bucher by the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR on Monday had raised the possibility of legal action if Bucher didn’t change her mind.
Bucher is up for reelection to the non-partisan elections supervisor post in the Aug. 30 vote.