9 Investigates possible civil rights violation by Orlando city clerk

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ORLANDO, Fla. —

9 Investigates learned about a recent decision by the Orlando city clerk that could be a violation of civil rights.

The city clerk requested that a poll worker in the race between Juan Lynum, Cynthia Harris and Regina Hill be removed as a poll worker after he expressed an opinion about the race in a Channel 9 story.

Channel 9 interviewed Nathanial Scarbourgh for a story in February, which raised questions about whether candidate Juan Lynum lives in the district.

In the interview, Scarbourgh said, “I think they need to investigate further. I really do.”

WFTV learned the statement caused City Clerk Alana Brenner to remove him from being a city poll worker.

Channel 9’s Lori Brown learned about the incident while interviewing Scarbourgh for a different story Wednesday.

“I have to be careful about what I say, the last time I said something, I got in trouble,” he said.

Scarbourgh declined to do an on-camera interview about what happened.

“I feel sorry for him to feel that way. He should be able to express himself,” said Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles.

Cowles said the city clerk asked him to move Scarbourgh out of the District 5 polling place and he complied with the city's wishes since it was the city's election.

“I think free speech is what everyone expects to have, and this is probably a unique situation we found ourselves in with this one,” Cowles said.

Cowles said it was perfectly legal and appropriate for Scarbourgh to express his views in his own home, and it wasn’t on Election Day.

“Outside of the polling place, outside of Election Day they can express themselves all they want,” Cowles said.

The city clerk would not speak with to WFTV on camera.

A spokesperson said in an email, “During any election, we want to avoid any appearance of non-neutrality by a poll worker.”