U.S. Senate committee to hear from former Gov. Charlie Crist about voting in Florida

Former Gov. Charlie Crist will testify today at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on voting rights.

"Crist will offer testimony about the impact of restrictions on voting and the importance of the Voting Rights Act," read an announcement from Chairman Patrick Leahy's office. "As Florida governor from 2007 to 2011, long lines at the polls and problems posed by the signature requirements for mail-in ballots prompted Crist to sign an executive order extending early voting."

Other witnesses include Voting Rights Act advocate Nina Perales, vice president of litigation at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and state Rep. Gilda Cobb Hunter, a South Carolina Democrat who has opposed her state's voter ID law in the South Carolina Legislature.

Leahy added: "I look forward to learning from this expert panel about problems at the polls during the 2012 elections and how, through oversight, legislation, and continued enforcement of laws like the Voting Rights Act, Congress can help to make sure such abusive practices and barriers to the voting booth are never repeated."

The committee hearing will be at 10 a.m. Testimony and a live webcast will be available on the committee's website.

CPAC speakers lineup

Sen. Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are two of the top speakers for CPAC 2013, the American Conservative Union announced.

The Floridians will join Sen.-elect Ted Cruz, Sen. Jim DeMint, Gov. Susana Martinez, Rep. Ron Paul, Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen.-designate Tim Scott. The conference will be March 14-16 outside Washington.

Backing Tant to lead party

Annette Taddeo has dropped her bid for chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party and has gotten behind Allison Tant, saying "it is clear that she would make a phenomenal Florida Democratic Party chair and unite our party because of her passion for Democratic values that we all share."

"I am overwhelmed by the support I have received from around the state, but at this point in time I need to focus on Miami-Dade County," Taddeo said in a statement released by Tant.

Alan Clendenin of Tampa is also running.

To lie in state at old Capitol

Longtime Florida Agriculture Commissioner Doyle Conner will lie in state Thursday at Florida's Historic Capitol. Conner died Sunday at the age of 83. He was the youngest state House speaker in Florida history, elected in 1957 at age 28. He will lie in state from noon to 2 p.m. on Thursday, with a funeral service to follow at the First Baptist Church of Tallahassee. Burial will be at Oakland Cemetery.

At end of line, vote's official

Florida delegates, with their sought-after 29 electoral votes, submitted their ballots for President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden during a ceremony Monday in the Senate chamber.

State law doesn't require delegates to cast ballots in accordance with the popular vote. But the delegates had sworn allegiance to the Democratic Party, and Obama and Biden were the only names on the ballot.

Rod Smith, Democratic Party chairman, and Ashley Walker, leader of Obama's Florida campaign, were among the delegates.

Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, said it was a day he'll honor and remember for the rest of his life.

"It's not lost on me that when I sign my name, I'm signing my name for all of those individuals who stood in line for hours and hours, whether they voted for Obama or not," Williams said.

Brittany Alana Davis contributed to the Buzz.

U.S. Senate committee to hear from former Gov. Charlie Crist about voting in Florida 12/19/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 10:36am]

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