Election reforms proposed by Secretary of State Ken Detzner are an encouraging first step, the League of Women Voters of Florida announced Wednesday while putting a number of their own suggestions before legislators.
The League of Women Voters of Florida does not believe that the secretary's recommendations alone are sufficient to enable Florida to move past the problems that have plagued our democratic process and which were clearly apparent in the most recent general election, wrote League President Deirdre Macnab to Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, who chairs the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee.
In his election report to Gov. Rick Scott, Detzner on Monday suggested giving supervisors the flexibility to extend early voting up to 14 days from the eight-day limit imposed in 2011 and to expand early voting locations to also use fairgrounds, stadiums, convention centers, county government facilities and civic centers.
Macnab wrote that when it comes to early voting, there should be two full weekends and the supervisors should have a wider option of early voting locations.
Several supervisors have told legislators they prefer to have the Sunday off before the general election as a planning day.
Meanwhile, Detzner told legislators this week that he preferred to limit locations to facilities where there would be an assurance they could be available election to election to provide continuity to voters.
Other League proposals include:
Restoring the prior protocol that allowed voters to update their address at the polls on Election Day and still cast a regular ballot. This will reduce the number of provisional ballots cast, alleviating the problems of checking and counting such ballots, and protecting the rights of voters.
Developing an online voter registration system to supplement the current, paper-based system. Online voter registration can significantly reduce costs for already strapped state and local governments, and can reduce the errors that occur from misinterpreting handwritten forms. Fifteen states have already upgraded their systems, and they have found that online registration saves a significant amount of taxpayer money.
Creating a uniform and timely process for notifying voters if their absentee ballot has been accepted or rejected, and providing a window of opportunity to allow voters whose absentee ballots have been rejected a remedy for ensuring they are not unduly disenfranchised. Simple mistakes and issues with absentee ballots should not prevent any Floridian from having his or her vote count.
Addressing mobility and safety concerns for voters who are disabled or elderly and providing an expedited process to allow them to vote. The exceedingly long lines in the 2012 general election disenfranchised an untold number of senior citizens and disabled voters, rendering them unable to cast a ballot. Such disenfranchisement must be prevented in future elections.
Reach Jim Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (772) 215-9889.