In 2011, Gov. Rick Scott drew criticism for backing legislation that opponents said restricted the ability of Floridians to vote, including reducing the time that early voting would be allowed. After the 2012 presidential election — when Florida again attracted national attention for voting problems, including long lines in some major counties and the inability to finish a final vote count along with the other states — Scott backed legislation that pulled back some of those 2011 changes and implemented other reforms. On Friday, Scott went even further by signing legislation (SB 228) that would let Florida voters register online by 2017 — making Florida the 25th state that has online registration or is in the process of implementing it. Scott’s latest move — seen as a major expansion of voting rights – is drawing praise from some of his harshest critics.
“He did the right thing for Florida voters,” said Deirdre Macnab, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, a group that has frequently called Scott out on voting issues.
“For us to be implementing a policy that expands voter access, it’s a 180-degree turn from where we were four years ago,” said Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, the prime sponsor of the legislation.