House advances controversial election code rewrite
The Republican-controlled House released a highly controversial 128-page rewrite of the election code Friday, drawing the wrath of election supervisors, grass-roots political groups and Democratic lawmakers.
The bill (HB 1355) surfaced in the House Government Operations Committee, where sponsor Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, described the measure as a "cleanup bill" in advance of the 2012 presidential election and the upcoming redrawing of all legislative and congressional districts. The most controversial provision would end a 40-year-old practice that allows voters to update their voting addresses at the polls on election day, as long as they sign an affidavit swearing that the new address is their correct address.
The bill would require those people to be taken out of the voting line and cast provisional ballots, which may or not be counted. About 3,600 voters in Orange County alone updated their addresses at the polls last November, according to Ron Labasky, general counsel for the state association of election supervisors. Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho called the change "disturbing" and "appalling ... We've got it right. We don't need to destroy the process," he said.
The measure imposes new restrictions on third-party groups that register voters, including reducing from 10 days to two days the time in which they must submit voter registration forms to the state.