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Rick Scott: America’s Confidence Must be Restored in Florida Voting

December 18, 2012 - 6:00pm

A report on how Florida can avoid mistakes that cropped up in the 2012 general election isnt expected to reach Gov. Rick Scotts desk until late January or early February.

But on Wednesday Scott gave some support to a few proposals that have been made by supervisors of elections where the attention on voting problems was prominently displayed as people waited up to four hours to vote.

Appearing in what would become a combative interview by Soledad OBrien on CNN, Scott said the state needs to consider giving supervisors more flexibility in where early voting could be held, making the length of ballots shorter and to reconsider extending the number of days of early voting.

We do need change, weve got to have a bipartisan group come together, Republicans and Democrats, and say weve got to improve this, weve got to restore the confidence of all Americans in the election process in Florida, Scott said.

State legislators in 2011 reduced the number of early voting days from 14 to eight as part of a sweeping overhaul of the election process.

Last week, while touring counties where lines were the longest, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner was offered three suggestions for legislative changes to improve the election process by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Supervisor of Elections Penelope Townsley:

Extend the number of early voting days.

Expand locations for early voting sites beyond public libraries and city halls.

Cap the number of words legislators are allowed to put into their own constitutional amendment questions.

Other election supervisors agreed, noting that they couldnt use all the libraries and city halls available because of space limitations.

The supervisors are expected to appear next year before the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee that has been charged with determining if changes to the state's election laws are needed.

Scotts appearance on CNN came as a Quinnipiac University poll of registered-voters -- as opposed to likely-voters -- was released stating that he has a long climb to restore confidence in his own job performance.

The poll puts Scotts disapproval rating at 45 percent to just 36 percent giving him a favorable rating, with 52 percent saying he doesnt deserve a second term. The poll recorded that 53 percent of Republicans were in favor of a primary challenger even though 55 percent of the GOP voters supported a second term.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce in late November has Scott holding a 41 percent approval rating, up from 30 percent in June 2011, with his disapproval rating in the same time dropping from 54 percent to 42 percent.

As Scott's potential 2014 gubernatorial challenger, former Gov. Charlie Crist had a 47 percent favorable rating, with his acceptance by his newfound Democrat brethren at 65 percent. Crist was under 50 percent with independents and at 28 percent with Republicans.

Alex Sink, the Democrats' 2010 gubernatorial candidate, had just a 27 percent favorability rating.


Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

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