Miami-Dade County wants more early-voting days — but how many more is up for debate. Mayor Carlos Gimenez and his appointed elections supervisor, Penelope Townsley, asked the Florida secretary of state earlier this week to consider supporting restoration of 14 voting days, up from the eight days offered this year. But a county election advisory group agreed Friday to ask state lawmakers for only one more day of early voting: the Sunday before Election Day. “I’m not sure that you’re going to get 14 days out of the state Legislature,” Gimenez conceded.
The 13-member group was split on what length of time to recommend to county commissioners, who will vote Tuesday on their state legislative priorities for the annual session in Tallahassee next spring.
The county elections department proposed returning to the 14 early-voting days offered before Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed a new law last year that reduced the number of days to eight. The maximum number of hours offered stayed the same on the books, though in practice early voting was extended in 2008.
The 2011 law, passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature, guaranteed one Sunday of early voting but prohibited voting the Sunday before Election Day, which Democratic-leaning African-Americans had long used as a day to bring “souls to the polls.”
About 90,000 fewer Miami-Dade voters cast early ballots in 2012 as compared to 2008, according to the elections department.