With only 75 days until the November 6, 2012 General Election, more and more news stories are focusing on the increasingly contentious nature of the administration of that election — especially between state and local officials. From voter purges to early voting to a general lack of confidence, state election officials seem to be clashing with local elections administrators on a more frequent basis as summer turns to fall. Interestingly enough — or not — most of these state/local clashes have occurred in swing states. One of the more high profile instances has been in Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott recently threated to remove from office Monroe County Supervisor of Elections Harry Sawyer for Sawyer’s failure to agree with the state’s early voting law. Scott and several elections supervisor butted heads over the state’s plans to review information from the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security and purge voter rolls of potential non-citizens, but it never reached the height that it has over early voting.
The administration is attempting to get all counties, including five covered by the Voting Rights Act to offer eight, 12-hour days of early voting. Four of the counties agreed to the change in early voting, but Monroe did not. “What I told them is that the days are more important than the hours,” Sawyer, who has held the post for 24 years, told The Miami Herald. According to the paper, in every election in the Keys, Sawyer said, early voting participation has increased. “It’s working for us,” he said. “I told them, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
In a statement released by his office, Scott said he is willing to ““take all necessary and appropriate action to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed, that supervisors are fulfilling their duties, and that the voters of this state have free and fair elections. He is trying to intimidate me. There’s no doubt about it,” Sawyer told the Herald/Times. “As of right now, this law (mandating eight days of early voting) has not been pre-cleared (in Monroe). He is going to have to wait just like the rest of us. His statement is inappropriate at this point.” On Wednesday, the state’s Democrat Party accused Scott of bullying Sawyer—a Republican.
Full Article: electionlineWeekly.