Embarrassed by their worst in the nation results conducting the 2012 election for President of the United States, Florida Governor Rick Scott and the Republican state legislature are promising to get to the bottom of what happened to cause the debacle in which the last votes were not cast until the following day and results were not reported until four days later. However, HB 1355 seems to be the clear culprit, and amendments proposed by the minority party seem to clearly indicate that lawmakers were aware of the fiasco the new rules would cause, but ignored efforts to mitigate it. The new election law, passed by Republicans in the 2011 session amid fierce opposition from Democrats and non-partisan voter rights groups, was signed into law by the Governor, despite warnings that it would cause chaos similar to what voters endured last week. The law shortened early voting, made for longer ballots by expanding the summary of unlimited proposed ballot amendments, and created restrictions that ensured local supervisors would have more of the time-consuming provisional ballots to collect and count.
Incoming Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford has said they don’t know what caused long lines; however, Weatherford and his House Republican colleagues repeatedly fought back efforts explicitly designed to curb the ill effects of their bill. Some supporters of the law are instead blaming local Supervisors of Elections for not being prepared; however, they failed to support amendments that would have empowered the local SOE’s to act.
In fact, nearly every cause being blamed for the long lines and late results were addressed in proposed amendments that warned of the results, while offering solutions — solutions the same Republican lawmakers throwing their hands up in the air fought tooth and nail against. Check out some of the failed amendments below that could have prevented last week’s mess.