Critics blast handling of elections bill
Dozens of organizations and Democratic legislators mobilized Monday to condemn a rewrite of Florida's elections code contained in two bills racing through the Legislature's final weeks. Their news conference was partly a response to Friday's decision by a House council to hurriedly pass a version without debate and after shutting down public testimony after two minutes.
"There is a chilling similarity between the way this bill was railroaded through committee and the provisions of the bill itself," said Sen. Nan Rich, D-Weston. "Both are unabashed attempts to limit the ability of ordinary citizens to have a say in their government." She also singled out the bill's sponsor for criticism, saying that Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, was unable to cite a single instance of voter fraud in the 2008 cycle that would justify the ban on two forms of ID used mainly by retirees.
"This is how it starts, in this insidious, little tiny way," thundered Rep. Janet Long, D-Seminole, who's a member of the House council where the Republican majority silenced opponents. "One step at a time. Shut down the people who don't agree with you. I won't have it, and that is not what I was elected to do."
Sunday's New York Times (headline: "Suppressing the vote in Florida") editorialized against the bill, and said that "Since 2000, Florida has been synonymous with badly run and undemocratic elections. This distinction has not come to it by chance."