Monday, January 7, 2013

Florida Dems completely unimpressed by 1st GOP bill for 2013 to address voting rights

Posted By on Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 5:58 PM

In the wake of the latest election debacle here in Florida, Republican lawmakers have made statements that they're ready to address some inequities that might have been exacerbated by the passage of the controversial election reform bill 1355 in the spring of 2011. The major provision of that bill reduced the number of early voting days from 14 to 8, even though GOP lawmakers never really made a convincing argument about why that needed to be enacted.

Democrats have spoken out a lot since the election, with a return to 14 days of early voting being a minimum of what they want to see enacted. So it's fair to say they were completely underwhelmed to hear and see the first bill on election reform filed today by Miami Republican state Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla.

His bill would expand early voting from 8 days all the way to....9.

But one of those days would be the Sunday before the election, a day that was removed for the 2012 voting cycle in Florida.

Florida Democratic Party chair Rod Smith said of Diaz de la Portilla's bill - nothing doing.

"Any discussion of reforming Florida's broken election system must begin with fully repealing HB 1355 — the Republican's law which led to our disastrous election and a national humiliation for our state. This Republican proposal is a band-aid over a gaping wound, and fails to restore the electoral voting rights which were stripped from Florida's citizens by Rick Scott. The solution is simple: repeal HB 1355 so that we can ensure that every Florida citizen is able to fully and easily excerise their constitutional right to participate in our democracy."

Diaz de la Portilla’s bill, SB 176, would also allows local election officials to offer two hours of additional early voting each day during a general election.

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