99 days out, taking stock of Florida's level of election readiness
Voting experts from Florida and across the country met at UF in Gainesville Monday to assess a quadrennial topic of interest: the state's level of readiness for the 2016 presidential election.
"It will never be easier to vote in America than it will be in this presidential election," said UF political scientist Michael McDonald as the seminar got underway. The daylong conference, entitled "Making Elections Work in the Sunshine State and Beyond," was sponsored by the Bob Graham Center for Public Service and brought together experts on voter registratiion, technology and litigation, from Massachusetts, New York, Louisiana, Texas and California.
Sixteen years after the 2000 Bush-Gore presidential recount in Florida, Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley said "there's no margin for error" in conducting an election in Florida, a critical battleground state because of its sheer size and its purple hue.
Corley noted an emerging trend in voting in Florida in which more than half of participating voters will have voted by mail or early before the polls open on election day, Aug. 30. "Election day has, to some extent, become a tie-breaker," Corley said.
Speakers cited the declining voter turnout in off-year or mid-term elections, when the White House is not at stake, and presentations focused on the need to develop reliable technology that would allow people to vote on the phones.
Monday was the deadline in Florida to register to vote -- or to switch parties -- for the Aug. 30 primary.
Nearly 2.3 million ballots have been mailed to primary voters across the state. Early voting will be available in all 67 counties on Aug. 20 and will start in some counties on Aug. 15.