Two months after Florida was denounced for its chaotic election process, Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday endorsed three major changes proposed by the state’s election supervisors. Governor Scott said he would support increasing the number of early voting days, including adding back the Sunday before Election Day, widening the range of polling places and reducing the length of ballots. In 2011, the Republican-controlled Legislature changed Florida’s election law by shortening the number of early voting days and hours and tightening other election rules, including voter registration. Mr. Scott, a Republican, signed the bill, despite criticism from Democrats and voter and civil rights groups who said Republicans simply wanted to reduce the number of Democrats voting. Election supervisors warned at the time that truncated early voting would lead to long lines and pose other hurdles. They were proved right. Voters in some counties and precincts waited in maddening lines, both during early voting and on Election Day. Some voters in Miami-Dade County cast their ballots after the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, had conceded the race. Recently the governor has distanced himself from the 2011 election law. He told the state’s legislative black caucus this week that the election law was not his and that he had nothing to do with passing the bill.
On Thursday, in a statement endorsing the proposal, Mr. Scott said the “ultimate goal must be to restore Floridians’ confidence in our election system. I want to ensure we do whatever possible to improve our election system from the statewide level,” he said.
… The League of Women Voters, which was one of several groups to sue the state over the law, praised Mr. Scott’s announcement Thursday, saying it was a step in the right direction.
But Howard Simon, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, said the proposals were too narrow to reverse the “flaws” in the process. “Many of the embarrassments that we saw in the November election would not have happened without Governor Scott’s signature and his administration spending taxpayer dollars to defend the Legislature’s voter suppression tactics,” Mr. Simon said. “So while it is heartening to see that the governor is willing to start a discussion about addressing flaws in our state’s election system, that conversation can’t stop here.”
Full Article: Florida Governor Backs Changes in Election Law – NYTimes.com.