Nelson blasts Legislature's 2012 election-law fixes
Left to RIght: State Democratic Chairman Rod Smith, State Senator Nan Rich, D- Weston, Former Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth, listen to US Senator Bill Nelson talk about the capture of Osama bin Laden and a Florida Senate bill that overhalls the election code, Monday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson was in Tallahassee Monday to blast the Republican Legislature for a proposed overhaul of the election laws for 2012, when Nelson himself will be seeking re-election. A bill awaiting Senate floor debate would end a 40-year-old practice that allows voters to update their legal address at the polls on Election Day.
Nelson said that would fall hardest on college students and military personnel, and he drew a parallel between the need to "protect our democracy" by preserving the right to vote and the successful exercise that resulted in the killing of Al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
"Now we are here for another reason of protecting our democracy, and that is to keep the right to vote," Nelson said. "Don't make it harder to vote. Don't make it harder to register to vote, and don't make it harder to try to count your vote, and that's what we have in front of the Legislature right now."
At issue is Senate Bill 2086, sponsored by Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami. In addition to curbing voter address changes, the bill also places new restrictions on groups that run voter registration drives and limits early voting from 14 days to seven.