Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Stop the presses! Gov. Scott supports fair elections

Another day, another headline about how Gov. Rick Scott is mucking up the great state of Florida. So what'll it be this time?

Maybe he wants to privatize public schools. Maybe he says Obama's health care plan will cost so much we'll all be living in tents under the interstate. Maybe he's refusing federal money intended to help abused puppies.

Wait — what's this?

In a pivot so swift you almost didn't see it, suddenly our governor supports restoring fairness in voting in Florida. And that's a headline you don't see every day.

Two years after signing into law a disingenuous election bill that makes it harder for some people to vote — and half a million bucks into defending that bad law in court — Scott this week came out in favor of making it easier instead of harder to cast a ballot.

For the record, did I mention he's pretty unpopular, up for re-election, and expected to face a bruising Democratic challenge?

The law that is suddenly the scourge of Scott cut early voting from 14 days to eight, a change that tends to affect those who vote Democrat. It also eliminated "Souls to the Polls" Sunday right before the election as an early voting day, a traditional get-out-the-vote effort for black churches.

Sensing a motive in there somewhere?

But this week, with elections supervisors from around the state in Tallahassee advocating that we make voting changes in the name of, oh, I don't know, fairness and democracy, suddenly Scott changed his tune.

Bring back 14 days! Restore Souls to the Polls!

And more: Push for shorter ballots, since proposed constitutional amendments from the Legislature helped give us the longest ballot in our history last time and helped cause long lines and concerns about how Florida votes yet again.

Scott talked up another idea elections supervisors have been advocating: More locations for early voting, like the churches and Moose Lodges that already serve as polling places on election day.

Talk about your costume change.

Scott told black lawmakers this week that the election law wasn't his bill anyway, it was the work of the Legislature, though that was definitely his John Hancock making it official.

And a style note: Scott said all this was "the right thing to do for our citizens" and "everybody" should be part of elections. "Of course I want them all to vote for me," he said, reportedly flashing a grin, but, "I think it's the right thing to do."

Now just hold on a minute!

Charm and seen-the-light conversions are supposed to be Charlie Crist's shtick!

And now the newly Democratic all-but-a-candidate may have lost his cleanest shot at painting the incumbent as a true menace to democracy.

Assuming, of course, that Scott does more than just talk and legislators really do fix bad law — the motive for which never really fooled voters in the first place.

Pre-election primping? Pure political posturing? Headlines in hopes of changing how voters see him? Sure. Or maybe the governor's truly seen the light. Stop laughing.

Either way, if it means restoring integrity that was robbed from our elections through a bad-faith, cynical law, we'll take it — even we don't forget the kind of headlines that got us here in the first place.

Stop the presses! Gov. Scott supports fair elections 01/18/13 [Last modified: Friday, January 18, 2013 10:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Evening update: Tropical Storm Harvey forms in Atlantic, second wave follows


    UPDATE: At 8 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  2. Trump 'beautiful statues' tweets roil Tampa Bay's own Confederate debate


    It started Thursday at 9:07 a.m., as it does so often these days, with a tweet:

    The Memoria in Aeterna Confederate monument stands in front of the old Hillsborough County Courthouse. Hillsborough County Commissioners voted 4-2 last month to move it to a private cemetery in Brandon before voting again this week to put a deadline on a public sector fundraising campaign to pay part of the cost. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Rays waste repeated opportunities in 5-3 loss to Blue Jays

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Rays manager Kevin Cash made a case for urgency before Thursday's game, in both actions and words, making significant changes to the structure of the lineup and sincere comments about time running short.

    Trevor Plouffe of the Rays reacts as he pops out with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. [Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images]
  4. Spanish PM voices solidarity with Barcelona


    BARCELONA, Spain — Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says his country is mourning in solidarity with the city of Barcelona and other cities in Europe that have been hit by deadly extremist attacks.

    An injured person is treated in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 after a white van jumped the sidewalk in the historic Las Ramblas district, crashing into a summer crowd of residents and tourists and injuring several people, police said. [Associated Press]
  5. Confederate statue: Why Bucs, Lightning, Rays took a stand


    They didn't want another Charlottesville.

    Marc Rodriguez, a member of the "Florida Fight for $15" organization, stands in protest along with other activists demanding the Confederate  monument be removed from the old Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]