Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Politics

Florida election supervisors want up to 14 early voting days

TALLAHASSEE — Hoping to avert future voting meltdowns, Florida election supervisors will urge the Legislature to restore up to 14 days of early voting and expand voting locations.

They also want lawmakers to limit legislatively backed constitutional amendments to 75 words on the ballot, a requirement for citizen amendments.

Lawmakers' insistence on publishing the full text of several ballot questions, totaling more than 3,000 words, contributed to the longest ballot in Florida history and was a big factor in bottlenecks at the polls last fall.

The supervisors want the state to require eight days of early voting in primary and general elections and give them the option to stretch it "up to" 14 days.

Before 2011, 14 days of early voting was required. That year, the Legislature reduced early voting to eight days and ordered it to end on the Saturday before Election Day.

The elected county election chiefs will present their ideas to lawmakers in hearings at the Capitol next week.

"We needed to be pro-active and have a voice in this process and more so than we've done in the past," said Pasco County's Brian Corley, legislative chairman of the state association of election supervisors. "Who else has more of an appropriate say than those who are actually in the trenches?"

The election supervisors, from counties large and small, have long asked for greater leeway in the places where early voting can occur. But lawmakers have restricted it to election offices, city halls and public libraries.

Corley cited the case in his county of a branch library's meeting room that was about 20 feet long and 20 feet wide.

"It was a recipe for disaster," Corley said. "It just can't be one size fits all. We need more flexibility."

Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders, chastened by the long lines and chaos that gave Florida a bounty of harsh publicity, have all said they support a thorough review of voting procedures.

Scott recently told CNN he favored a "bipartisan" solution, with shorter ballots, greater flexibility and a review of the number of early voting days.

"We do need change," Scott told CNN.

Scott gets lots of constituent email on voting, much of it critical, and his office has been responding with a partial transcript of the Dec. 19 CNN interview.

"They all seem to be singing from the same hymnal," Corley said. "There's no reason to think we wouldn't be successful. I'm optimistic."

The election group's chairwoman, Vicki Davis of Martin County, said supervisors are deliberately not calling for a mandatory 14-day early voting timetable.

"The smaller counties don't need 14 days of early voting," Davis said. "This creates flexibility for supervisors to choose the number of days that meet the needs of their counties."

Davis and Corley are among 10 supervisors who will testify in Tallahassee along with Penelope Townsley of Miami-Dade, Susan Bucher of Palm Beach County and Jerry Holland of Duval.

The 60-day annual legislative session begins March 5.

Steve Bousquet can be reached at [email protected] or (850) 224-7263.

Comments
23 seek vacant PSC post

23 seek vacant PSC post

There is another Mariano seeking a job in Tallahassee.Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano, the father of state Rep. Amber Mariano, R-Hudson, is seeking an appointment to the Florida Public Service Commission, the powerful board regulating Florida ...
Published: 01/16/18
Trump administration to take DACA repeal directly to the Supreme Court

Trump administration to take DACA repeal directly to the Supreme Court

SAN FRANCISCO — The Trump administration on Tuesday appealed a judge’s ruling temporarily blocking its decision to end protections for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants and announced plans to seek a U.S. Supreme Court review even before an ap...
Published: 01/16/18
North Korea calls Trump a ‘lunatic’ and a ‘loser’ in response to nuclear button tweet

North Korea calls Trump a ‘lunatic’ and a ‘loser’ in response to nuclear button tweet

North Korea’s official news agency responded Tuesday to President Donald Trump’s controversial "nuclear button tweet," describing it as the "the spasm of a lunatic," according to AP."The spasm of Trump in the new year reflects the desperate mental st...
Published: 01/16/18
‘What do we want? Apology!’ Hundreds of Haiti supporters protest near Mar-a-Lago

‘What do we want? Apology!’ Hundreds of Haiti supporters protest near Mar-a-Lago

Sun Sentinel (TNS)PALM BEACH — About 500 Haitian-Americans and their supporters used the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to protest derogatory comments President Donald Trump reportedly made about immigrants from majority-black countries."What do we w...
Published: 01/15/18

U.S. forced to renew DACA permits as furor over Trump’s immigration slur persists

Los Angeles Times (TNS)WASHINGTON — The Trump administration, under court order, said it would resume taking applications to renew temporary protections from deportation for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought to the country illegall...
Published: 01/14/18
GOP senator: Reports of Trump’s ‘s---hole’ comments a ‘gross misrepresentation’

GOP senator: Reports of Trump’s ‘s---hole’ comments a ‘gross misrepresentation’

A Republican senator is insisting that President Donald Trump did not use a vulgar term in referring to African countries during a closed-door meeting on immigration that he and five other senators attended last week.Georgia Sen. David Perdue called ...
Published: 01/14/18
The Trump-O-Meter: PolitiFact rates Donald Trump's first year

The Trump-O-Meter: PolitiFact rates Donald Trump's first year

By Angie Drobnic Holan PolitiFact Editor Much of Donald Trump’s presidency has been defined by provocative tweets and gloves-off fights. But Trump has used the power of the presidency to move the country toward the overarching vision he ran o...
Published: 01/12/18
Updated: 01/16/18
Ethics panel advised to deny legal fees in unfounded Ken Hagan complaint

Ethics panel advised to deny legal fees in unfounded Ken Hagan complaint

A Florida Ethics Commission staff attorney has drafted an order denying Hillsborough County’s request for reimbursement for attorney fees from one of four citizens who filed unsustained ethics complaints against Commissioner Ken Hagan.The commission ...
Published: 01/12/18
Haitians in Tampa Bay area react to Trump’s slur:

Haitians in Tampa Bay area react to Trump’s slur: "It’s very racist"

Fadia Richardson had just finished dinner Thursday when she sat down to watch the news and saw a report she didn’t want to believe.In an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers to discuss immigration policy earlier in the day, President Donald Trump repor...
Published: 01/12/18
Sen. Durbin says Trump said ‘hate-filled things’

Sen. Durbin says Trump said ‘hate-filled things’

WASHINGTON — A senator present at a White House immigration meeting says President Donald Trump used vulgar language to describe African countries, saying he "said these hate filled things and he said them repeatedly." Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois D...
Published: 01/12/18