In 180 Shift, Gov. Rick Scott Endorses More Early Voting Days

The governor said his call for reforms comes after he asked Secretary of State Ken Detzner to identify specific ways to fix the problems seen in the 2012 presidential election

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday said more early voting days are needed to help prevent the long election lines experienced by thousands of voters in November.

Scott had signed a 2011 bill that reduced early voting days from 14 to 8. 

Scott not only defended the law in court, but refused to extend early voting hours after complaints of long lines.

But Scott said he now endorses several changes, including more early voting days, after he asked Secretary of State Ken Detzner to identify specific ways “we can fix the problems we saw in some counties” with long lines and delayed reporting in last year’s election.

“Our ultimate goal must be to restore Floridians’ confidence in our election system,” Scott said in a statement. “I asked Sec. Detzner for a report with specific election reform recommendations, because I want to ensure we do whatever possible to improve our election system from the statewide level.”

Among the areas in Florida that endured the longest delays were in South Florida, including Miami.

Scott on Thursday also said there was a need for more early voting sites, a shorter ballot and the possibility of having early voting the Sunday before an election.

Having that Sunday available would provide election supervisors “the option to accommodate the needs of their community as they requested in committee meetings this week,” he said.

Scott said that all the proposed reforms were strongly supported “by the input and experiences of local election supervisors and others that the department met with for ideas on improving our current system – a system clearly in need of improvement.”

Lawmakers are considering changes to the voting process after Florida was criticized over six-hour-long voting lines and for not being able to confirm for days that President Barack Obama narrowly carried the state over Republican Mitt Romney.

Scott said he looked forward to working with the Legislature on a bipartisan bill to implement reforms.

“I also appreciate the Legislature and the Supervisors of Elections for their feedback in committee meetings this week,” he said. “As the Legislature continues its work, I look forward to working together to craft legislation that will ensure successful elections by making these important statewide reforms.”

Read Gov. Scott's full statement on election reforms here.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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