RPOF Calls Out Dems' Plea for Another Early Voting Day

By: Jim Turner | Posted: November 2, 2012 3:55 AM

 early voting
Don’t expect early voting to be extended in Florida this go-round.

Four years after then-Republican former Gov. Charlie Crist agreed to extend early voting by four hours for six days in Florida because of long lines, a similar plea this year to add an extra day for densely populated counties isn’t seeing a similar response.

A spokesman for the secretary of state said no voters will be turned away as long as they are in line before the polls close during a scheduled early voting day or on Election Day. But otherwise he didn’t respond to the extension request from a couple of Democrats and the League of Women Voters of Florida.

The governor’s office deferred comment to the secretary of state’s office, which oversees the Division of Elections.

The Republican Party of Florida, however, did waste time criticizing the calls to add an extra day to early voting.

RPOF Executive Director Mike Grissom called the demand to extend early voting to Sunday -- the last day is Saturday -- a dishonest attempt that violates the law in an attempt to benefit the Democratic Party.

“Florida has a law in regard to early voting. This law provides for 96 hours of operation for early voting locations, the exact same amount of hours as 2008. That same law was approved by President Obama's Department of Justice,” Grissom stated in a release.

“The fact is as simple as this: More Floridians have cast a ballot as of five days out than in 2008. For one side to demand that we break the law because they feel like they are losing is wrong,”

Thursday morning, former state Sen. Dan Gelber and the League of Women Voters -- pointing to long lines at early voting locations -- asked for the one day extension, pointing to the length of the ballot and the reduction in days from prior election cycles.

“In parts of Florida, many citizens -- including veterans and seniors -- have had to to wait for as many as five hours to simply express the most fundamental right guaranteed to them in a democracy,” Gelber wrote.

“In my own city of Miami Beach, an elderly African-American woman passed out in front of City Hall over the weekend after waiting in excess of an hour in the hot sun. An ambulance took her away.

“Is that what you envisioned when you and the Legislature lengthened the ballot and shortened early voting?”

League President Deirdre Macnab pointed to newspaper reports that people in Miami-Dade County were waiting up to six hours to vote, while lines were two hours long in Palm Beach County.

“The League of Women Voters of Florida, which is dedicated to protecting the right of all citizens to vote, is extremely concerned that such long waits are discouraging to voters whose schedules and/or physical conditions cannot accommodate these types of delays,” Macnab wrote to Scott.

As of Wednesday, 3,056,580 Floridians had cast ballots from among 11,934,446 registered voters.  

With the majority of votes submitted through absentee ballots, registered Democrats have accounted for 1,298,849 of the ballots (638,956 through early voting and 659,893 via absentees) and 1,239,817 have come from registered Republicans (734,095 absentee, 505,722 early voting).

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

Comments (8)

1:12PM NOV 4TH 2012
The Democrats are pathetic. If you really want to 'vote early' by all means get an absentee ballot. I am sick to death of the lawsuits and name calling by the Democrats.
I say do away with it all and go back to voting on Tuesday in person or if early by absentee. And I am not the only one who feels this way.
7:12PM NOV 2ND 2012
Sorry state , that the Governor want to hold down the vote. I won't be surprised to see him go to one day voting when he runs again.
ML Hanson
6:37AM NOV 2ND 2012
People like Mike Grissom have made the Republican party an embarrassment. To say that wanting to vote without waiting in line for six hours is "dishonest" or an attempt to "break the law" is shameful. His contention that extending voting hours benefits the Democratic party makes it crystal clear that the whole motive behind restricting voting hours and available polling places in heavily-populated Democratic counties is to make it more difficult for Democrats to vote. If Republicans could win on their own merits, then they'd surely want to make it easier to vote, not harder.
T. Walpole
6:25AM NOV 2ND 2012
As expected, the League of Women Voters is only calling for an extra day of early voting in some counties where there are especially long lines. Counties that also happen to have higher proportion of Democrats.
ML Hanson
6:49AM NOV 2ND 2012
T. Walpole: Logic tells me that it might just make sense to ask for extended voting hours wherever the lines are especially long.
Franklin Thompson
8:30PM NOV 3RD 2012
The lines would not be long if people would actually use the early voting days like they are supposed to. We are almost at the end of early voting and now the lines are long because people procrastinate. That's their stupid fault; not the fault of early voting.
Peter Schorsch
5:54AM NOV 2ND 2012
Please, Gov. Scott, do not extend early voting (your opponents need the issue in 2014!).

Jack Plaisir
6:58PM NOV 2ND 2012
You do realize that absolutely power corrupts absolutely, what's to stop the next governer from cutting early voting in the district you vote in Peter?

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