Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Senate blocks Democratic-sponsored amendments to election overhaul

Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, talks to Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, while the chamber debates a bill overhauling state elections. Sixteen Democrat-sponsored amendments were rejected. A final vote is set for today.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, talks to Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, while the chamber debates a bill overhauling state elections. Sixteen Democrat-sponsored amendments were rejected. A final vote is set for today.

TALLAHASSEE — Republican senators blocked a series of Democratic attempts Wednesday to make changes to a controversial election overhaul bill.

Among the rejections were proposals to maintain 14 days of early voting, allow election supervisors to add more early-voting locations, allow college students to update their addresses at the polls, and remove fines on third-party groups for late submission of voter forms.

SB 2086 has drawn intense opposition from Democrats and groups that register voters, such as the League of Women Voters, who accuse the GOP of "voter suppression" tactics to boost the party's chances in 2012.

"We shouldn't mess with something our constituents wanted," said Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Boca Raton, who argued to keep early voting the way it is.

The bill cuts early voting from 14 days to eight, ending three days before the election. Republicans emphasized that despite fewer days, the total amount of early voting time is the same — 96 hours.

"We don't want to dramatically reduce early voting," said Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville.

Democrats also railed against a provision that would reduce the validity of voter signatures on initiative petitions from four years to two. "The citizens don't have a chance to get the amount of signatures in two years," said Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Coconut Grove.

It wasn't just Democrats who got steamrollered.

Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, suggested an amendment abolishing leadership funds that will allow a single powerful legislator to solicit and control millions of dollars in special interest campaign contributions. It was voted down.

In all, 16 Democratic-sponsored amendments were rejected. Senators delayed floor debate and a final vote until today.

The 154-page Senate bill now differs from the House version passed two weeks ago mainly on early voting, as the House keeps it at 14 days. Some election supervisors say fewer days of early voting in 12-hour stretches will lead to higher overtime costs.

The two chambers have agreed to shift the date of the nonpresidential 2012 primary to Aug. 14, two weeks earlier than currently scheduled, where it conflicted with the Republican National Convention in Tampa. They also agreed to create a nine-member commission to select the date of Florida's 2012 presidential primary.

Senate blocks Democratic-sponsored amendments to election overhaul 05/04/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 10:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. FSU-Tulane coming to Amalie Arena in December

    Blogs

    Florida State basketball is coming to Tampa.

  2. Taylor Swift congratulates Russell Westbrook on MVP Award

    Blogs

  3. Strategic Property Partners launches website for Water Street Tampa

    Business

    Strategic Property Partners has launched its official website for Water Street Tampa, its 53-acre redevelopment project in downtown Tampa Tuesday.

    Strategic Property Partners on Tuesday announced the name of its new development: Water Street Tampa. [Photos courtesy of SPP]
  4. Is Mikhail Sergachev, who debuts with Lightning at Wednesday camp, ready for the NHL?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — When defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was taken ninth overall by the Canadiens in the 2016 NHL draft, a horde of Montreal media surrounded him for his first news conference.

    Mikhail Sergachev takes a shot during warmups prior to a game between the Canadiens and Arizona Coyotes in October in Montreal. [Getty Images]
  5. ReliaQuest CEO Brian Murphy named sole Tampa Bay winner in EY state entrepreneur contest

    Business

    ReliaQuest founder and CEO Brian Murphy was named one of nine winners statewide and the only one from the Tampa Bay area in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 Florida Awards program. Murphy won in the IT security division after starting ReliaQuest in 2007. Five of the nine winners were from the Miami …

    Tampa's ReliaQuest founder and CEO Brian Murphy was named one of nine winners statewide and the only one from the Tampa Bay area in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 Florida Awards program. Murphy won in the IT security division after starting ReliaQuest in 2007.