Not too long ago, any effort to change election law that seemed to restrict voting rights would have been tantamount to political suicide regardless of which party was attempting the change. But now there appears to be no shame or fear. For many years there was an emphasis on increasing voter turnout. As Florida grew so did the number of polling places and the expansion of voting methods. Absentee ballots were open to everyone, not only to those who could demonstrate they were unable to vote on Election Day. My party, the Republican Party, was quick to embrace absentee voting and expertly adapted to campaigning to absentee voters. Early-voting days were added as a convenience to those who found it difficult to make it to the polls on Election Day. This appealed to those working long or irregular shifts and became popular among the working class, younger voters and minorities.
In a state as large as Florida, with 19 million residents and 12 million registered voters, the 67 county supervisors of elections strive to offer more options and greater convenience to boost voter turnout. By increasing voter opportunities, they also reduce the wait for those who prefer to vote on the traditional Election Day.
These constitutional officers are responsible for keeping accurate voter rolls and for protecting against the occurrence of voter fraud. Over the past few decades, voter fraud has been virtually nonexistent in Florida elections.
Yet under the guise of fighting this nonexistent voter fraud, numerous election changes have been proposed to Florida’s election laws. Many of these provisions have had predictably bad results. In 2011, a massive election-reform bill resulted in hours-long waits during a shortened early voting period and on Election Day. causing many prospective voters to give up.