RPOF Calls Out Dems' Plea for Another Early Voting Day
Around the State
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or at (772) 215-9889.