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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

10 Florida Republicans face blame for recent voting issues

12

November

The Huffington Post has published an article blasting Florida Republicans for election changes they say led to a "debacle" on election day. And in an accompanying photo slideshow, the site called out 10 party leaders who it says are especially to blame.

Among them: Gov. Rick Scott, incoming Senate President Don Gaetz, newly elected Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett, a former state senator, recently defeated state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, and even former U.S. Rep. David Rivera, who seemed to make the list because of his own issues concerning allegations of election improprieties.

Here is an excerpt of the article:

Who is responsible for Florida's second infamous elections debacle since 2000?

There will be plenty of blame to go around, especially when Miami-Dade County finally finishes counting provisional ballots and gets to the bottom of who declined to shore up voting operations, and when. But blame will also likely fall on conservative state legislators, who fought for two years to reduce the number of early voting days and limit registration after heavy 2008 turnout in the state for Democrats.

"Obama won the most where the lines were the longest," former state Sen. Dan Gelber (D-Miami Beach) told the Tampa Bay Times, speaking of the 2012 turnout.

Gelber called the law reducing early voting "hubris and overreaching by the Republicans, who may learn a lesson that 'Maybe we shouldn't abuse our prisoners that much because sometimes they'll get back at you.'"

Citing admittedly non-existent fraud, the GOP gang reduced the number of early voting days from 14 to 8, eliminating the Sunday before Election Day disproportionately preferred, in large numbers, by blacks, Hispanics, young people and first-time voters.

As a result, many voters were squished onto a final Saturday of early voting, with lines so long the last voters in Miami cast their ballots at 1 a.m. Some voters were forced to leave lines to care for children or keep appointments, sending even more South Floridians back to the lines on Tuesday.

...Amid the chaos, the backers of House Bill 1355 defended its role, pointing out that the maximum number of early voting hours remained the same, blaming problems at the polls on unpreparedness and denying that long lines served to suppress votes.

But numbers collected by the Tampa Bay Times indicate otherwise: in relatively pain-free Hillsborough County, early voting turnout was up 14 percent from 2008, while in delay-plagued Miami-Dade, 28 percent fewer people cast ballots early.

Read more here.

[Last modified: Monday, November 12, 2012 3:11pm]

    

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