Democratic lawmakers, liberal activists and labor unions on Monday called for sweeping changes in Florida’s voting laws, warning that if Gov. Rick Scott and lawmakers do not act the issues could end up in court. “We are calling upon the state to move very quickly and not to continue to undermine our democracy by cutting off the participation of Florida voters,” said Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, a civil rights group. The call came after Florida again became the center of national attention — and ridicule — as the state was the last in the nation to be able to tally its votes and declare a winner in the presidential race.
The early voting period and Election Day were marred by long lines of voters in some of the state’s largest counties. In Miami-Dade County, early voters had to wait more than six hours to vote and some voters did not get to cast their ballots on Election Day until 1 a.m., hours after Barack Obama had been declared the victor in the race.
Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders have said they will review the election problems and will consider changes, although they have not made any firm commitments.
“I’m concerned about the fact that we can’t seem to be able to count votes in the state of Florida,” incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said in a radio interview last week.
“We’re the 27th-largest economy in the world and we can’t count votes.”
Weatherford said lawmakers will “take a look” at the ongoing voting problems in the state.
Other groups are expected to call for election reforms, including the Florida League of Women Voters, which has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday.