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Florida Dems ask Scott to extend early voting

by Dara Kam | November 1st, 2012

Florida Democrats are asking Gov. Rick Scott to extend early voting an extra day, blaming the GOP-backed changes to the election law that shrank the number of early voting days for long lines at the polls.

Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith said Scott should take the lead from his predecessor Charlie Crist who extended early voting four years ago in response to long lines around the state and election machine problems in certain counties.

Lawmakers last year cut back on the number of early voting days from 14 to eight and did away with the final Sunday before Election Day. Democrats have historically used early voting in greater numbers than Republicans in Florida.

Although the number of early voters casting ballots was down in Palm Beach County from four years ago, voters are still having to wait in long lines, in part because of the 11 proposed constitutional amendments placed on the ballot by lawmakers. About a third of Florida voters are expected to vote early either by mail or in person before Tuesday’s election.

Voters in Palm Beach County continue to wait as much as two hours to cast ballots at the county’s 14 early polling places. On Wednesday, 14,615 voters cast ballots – down 90 votes from Saturday – the busiest day at the polls with 15,525 county voters casting early ballots.

Smith joined former state and senator Dan Gelber in making the demand on Scott.

Here’s Smith’s statement:

“In 2008, Floridians had 14 days of early voting — and Florida’s then Republican governor still found it necessary to extend early voting. The long lines at the polls show it was clearly a mistake for the GOP controlled Legislature in Tallahassee to cut early voting in half — but it is past time for Governor Scott to show some leadership and fix that mistake. This is not a Democratic or Republican issue: protecting the right of every eligible Floridian to make their voice heard by participating in our democracy is an American responsibility which every elected leader has sworn to uphold and defend. In light of of the record turnout this year, we call on Governor Scott to extend early voting hours in every county across Florida through Sunday, so that Florida citizens can exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right and freedom to participate in this election.

“To all Floridians of whatever persuasion, do not be deterred from casting your vote. It is the sacred duty of every citizen.”

Leading Republicans didn’t seem too interested Thursday in meeting Smith’s demand.

“There’s no unusual circumstances, no weather-related events,” said Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, moments before leaving Tallahassee for a multi-city bus tour promoting presidential contender Mitt Romney and other Republican candidates.

“There’s nothing out there in the state of Florida that would create the basis for an emergency order,” Putnam said.

In 2008, Crist’s decision to extend daily hours of early voting stunned his then-fellow Republicans and was seen as helping President Obama claim Florida over Republican John McCain. Crist, who has abandoned the GOP, has been campaigning for Obama this fall.

Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll also dismissed the Democrats’ request.

“It’s not the end yet, and we still have Election Day as well, when people certainly can turn out to vote,” Carroll said.

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23 Responses to “Florida Dems ask Scott to extend early voting”

  1. trowlfaz Says:

    AAAAAhhhhh – we need to get more dead people, I mean more illegals, woo, sorry, more liberal votes to keep king barry in office. We can’t forge them quick enough, more time please.

  2. bobh Says:

    The ballot is a bit long but it isn’t complicated and doesn’t, or shouldn’t, take long to complete.

  3. Howard Morrison Says:

    I don’t just say no to this I say HELL NO. Stupid request, there is clearly enough time to cast your votes in the current time allowed. We all use to cast our votes in one day. With the Democrats, it’s just never enough. They know their not happy with turnout, so lets take another day and see if we can go get some bums off the street to vote, give them cigarettes, beer, etc.

  4. Terry Saulsbury Says:

    Just because there are 11 amendments on the ballot is no excuse. If you don’t know how you are going to mark your ballot then you really shouldn’t be voting period. Each machine should have a timer that allocates you three minutes to vote and your vote should not count if you cannot finish in that time.

  5. oatka Says:

    Translation: “We’re not doing anywhere as near as we thought so we need an extra day to ‘pad’ the vote.”

  6. Sonny Beaches Says:

    Louisiana had 9 constitutional amendments. It took me less than 1 minute to vote on EVERYTHING on the ballot. Some people don’t come prepared, and, as a result, take a long time to vote.

    I hate a time limit, but, sometimes it’s necessary. (LA has a 3 minute time limit.)

    Another option is to have separate elections for constitutional amendments, taxes, etc.

  7. patti bee Says:

    NO! WHY? If DEMS cannot manipulate early voters to go out, let them wait until ELECTION..DAY! Get real. Hell no! Did they extend military absentee?? NO!

  8. Ruckus_Tom Says:

    They just want to make sure all the snowbirds, who might be delayed due to Sandy, have time to check their homes and vote in both NY in FL.

  9. Steve Kraus Says:

    Sunday means churches full of voters that pastors can say get on the bus, get in the vans, volunteer to drive cars full of church members to the election office. Dems have the plan and the GOP will again be ignorant until its too late.

  10. Steve Kraus Says:

    In other words: Governor Scott, do not allow this to happen. Then the dems sue and a liberal judge abuses his/her power and allows it to happen.

  11. patti bee Says:

    GOVERNOR Scott. Please stop them from changing laws to suit themselves. Everybody waits in line. SO? what else is new? And, Dems had the option of absentee ballots. If they stick with Obama more people will be in welfare lines and unemployment lines! Let them cast their votes by Saturday…. or wait until ELECTION DAY!

  12. js Says:

    seems like they had plenty of notice…why are the pulling this at the last minute…they could have complained last august…or july…or..january…

    buy noooo…wait till the very last week…2 days to go…

    btw…why are they called laws if we dont obey them?

  13. princess singleton Says:

    there are some real dummies on here…back in the day we did not have 12 million people registered to vote in this little space of time…then make it long ballots of top of that and comparing us to small states is foolish…we do not vote by acreage but by people..we are the 3rd most populated state in the US….we need more voting machines and days.

    you guys are so short sighted

  14. Ric T. Says:

    no extension!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Get off your dead dem a$$e$ or don’t vote for the Presidential “Raghead”!!!!!!!!!!!

    As for B. J. Clinton, forget it!!!!!!!

  15. bobh Says:

    All they want is more time to cheat!

  16. bill Says:

    no need to extend two hour wait is ridiculous but its not a ten hour wait its the sunday bus angle the dems are aftr

  17. deborah rothschild Says:

    I do not understand the responses posted above. It is everyone’s right to vote. The Governor should be ashamed at
    so blatantly attempting to prevent/discourage any voters be they democrat, republican or independent, from casting their ballot. What is the rationale for shortening the early voting hours? This is anti-American and I urge people to protest the abrogation of the ability to vote. Whatever it takes–longer hours or more voting machines–everyone who wants to vote and is eligible to vote should be allowed to do so without undue hardship. I am shocked and dismayed by Scott’s stance and the support that he is being shown. To these people–how would you feel if the tables were turned?

  18. spacepuppy Says:

    Florida Republicans sure work hard to throw elections. It’s ridiculous they are allowed to get away with tampering with the ballots every election.

  19. Jess Jaynes Sr Says:

    2000 again?

  20. Marian Sue Myers Says:

    Joe Biden said America is not red or blue, but purple. I agree, Joe, that America is purple… bruised to the bone by Obama’s unAmerican acts,policies, and philosophy!

  21. bobh Says:

    The democrats have had plenty of time, just like republicans have. The ballot is not complicated, if someone knows the issues. If they don’t know the issues they shouldn’t be voting at all.

  22. Laura Says:

    This governor has been trying to suppressing voters in Florida on every issue that he can. I hope that the voters remember that when he runs again for office so they can vote him out of office. Scott has been one of the worst governors we ever had in Florida he only works for one group the GOP he needs to be fired.

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