If Fla had early voting in 2000, Al Gore would have been president
"Early voting is the greatest change that has happened to our elections," says former Hillsborough County Elections Supervisor Pam Iorio. It may not increase overall voter participation, but she said it ensures more people can vote - especially hourly workers and people without transportation who often have to miss voting election day if something comes up, say a broken car or a sick kid.
What's more, the Democratic former Tampa Mayor notes, early voting is "a fantastic way to make sure that any problem that comes to light can be fixed." Like, say, a confusing ballot design that might prompt people to vote more than once or for the wrong person.
"Had we had early voting in 2000, Al Gore would have been president,'' said Iorio, who is no rabid partisan.
She made another provocative point: Contrary to popular believe that Florida is the ultimate purple, swing state, she argues that in fact, its electorate leans Democratic.
"Take the last four presidential elections - Democrats won three of them,'' said Iorio, counting 2000 as a Democratic win because voter-error caused so many spoiled ballots. "The only time it went for the Republicans was Bush-Kerry, when Kerry could not muster minority enthusiasm.
"If the African-American vote comes out and the Hispanic vote comes out, then Obama will win again," she said. "If he can bring out that minority vote in substantial numbers then he can afford to lose some of the swing voters."