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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Not all cheers for Charlie

It was a happy scene in West Palm Beach Monday as Gov. Charlie Crist signed into law the paper-trail requirement for future elections and the earlier presidential primary date. The governor was lavish with praise for two Democrats who pushed the idea: U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler and state Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Fort Lauderdale.

The ACLU weighed in, saying the end of paperless voting in Florida is a good start. State Sen. Dave Aronberg cheered the bill because it requires write-in candidates, for the first time, to live in the legislative district where they run under what he calls "the write-in scam."

But not everyone is cheering Crist's signing of House Bill 537. The League of Women Voters of Florida issued a statement harshly critical of parts of the bill that impose stiffer fines on third-party groups that miss voter registration deadlines and allow voters to revoke their signatures from ballot initiative petitions. The League says the new revocation provision "will result in a cottage industry of harassment."

"We urge Governor Crist to convene a blue ribbon citizens' panel to review Florida's election laws, enforcement mechanisms and the anti-voter provisions in this and other new laws adopted this year," said the statement signed by Karen Burns of Gulfport, director of the League's election reform panel. The group said it supported HB 537 "only" because of the paper-trail provision.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:23pm]


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