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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist & RPOF: A mixed early-voting message



Shortly before before Gov. Charlie Crist ordered early voting expanded on Tuesday -- noting in his order that there are "only" 267 early voting sites in Florida -- the Republican Party of Florida put out a very different message.

RPOF was answering criticism of Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deboran Clark for her refusal to open more than three early voting sites in the county. (A Democratic Party official, Jon Ausman, labeled Clark a "suppressor of elections" and called for a grand jury probe of her office).

In response to Ausman's criticism, the Republican Party issued a statement, a part of which read as follows:  "Florida's voters have unprecedented access to convenient ways to cast their vote, including 15 days to cast their vote in person and several weeks during which they may vote absentee in the comfort of their own homes."

Here's what Crist said at an afternoon news conference: "I want to make sure that the maximum number of citizens can take part in our electoral process." Having spoken with general counsel Jason Gonzalez and Democratic state Rep. Dan Gelber, Crist said, "It is my predeliction to always want to have voting as easy to be done as possible."

After Crist issued his order, the GOP issued a statement that said: "Republicans have always said that we want as many legal, legitimate voters to participate in the elections process as possible, and we commend Gov. Crist for his leadership in making that happen."

It is worth noting who was among the first to enthusastically praise Crist's early voting order. They are Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Thurman; U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami; U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa; Common Cause; AARP; and ACORN. 

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 4:42pm]


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