Rick Scott Vows Review Of Florida Elections Procedures

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  Governor Rick Scott speaks during a bill signing ceremony for House Bill 99, the Florida Safe Harbor Ac
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12: Governor Rick Scott speaks during a bill signing ceremony for House Bill 99, the Florida Safe Harbor Act and House Bill 7049, Human Trafficking, at the Kristi House in Miami. on June 12, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The Governor is in a legal battle with the U.S. Justice Department over the state's effort to remove non-U.S. citizens from lists of registered voters ahead of this year's presidential election. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Gov. Rick Scott has ordered a review of what (or who) is to blame for Florida's second major voting debacle.

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner reportedly met with appointed and elected supervisors of elections for some of the state's 67 counties on Wednesday to discuss possible remedies to endless headaches and six hour-long lines which plagued precincts in densely-populated parts of Florida.

Heavy criticism has been leveled at Scott himself and the GOP-led Florida legislature, who not only passed a law reducing early voting days from 14 to eight, but loaded the Florida ballot with 11 confusing long-form amendments. In many areas, resulting lines led to voters filing considerably more in-person absentee ballots, which took canvasing boards extra time to verify and count.

Many state officials deflected blame in the wake of the elections debacle -- including Scott, who initially said "the right thing happened" after he declined to extend early voting on account of prohibitively long lines.

"Floridians should not have to wait several days for the results of a major presidential election to be tabulated because of the delays in a few counties when the majority of counties -- including major metropolitan areas -- have been counted," Scott said in a statement released Wednesday.

"We were following the law," Detzner told CNN's Ashleigh Banfield.

Detzner, who previously called the Department of Justice's eventual approval of the reduced early voting law "a tremendous victory for Florida voters" that would give "more flexibility to vote, more accountability and faster reporting times on Election Day," now acknowledges there were "issues."

"I think we could've done better [and] we will do better," Detzner remarked. "This problem is going to be solved."

So far, according to the Tampa Bay Times, his steps are of the baby variety:

Wednesday’s meeting between the supervisors and Detzner didn’t clarify what, if any, solutions Scott will provide.

Detzner met for 90 minutes in the law office of Ron Labasky, the lobbyist for the [Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections]. Other attendees were the association’s executive board members, who represent Clay, Escambia, Polk, Duval and Martin counties – all of which are rural are suburban counties with Republican majorities that lack the dense urban precincts of counties like Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, Palm Beach, Hillsborough and Pinellas.

Since the election, advocacy groups including the Florida New Majority, Advancement Project, Florida Immigrant Coalition, and the AFL-CIO and some Democratic lawmakers have called for an overhaul of Florida voting law, and residents have contacted Scott's office en masse to push for permanent changes to the dismal 2012 elections experience. (Read some of those angry emails at The Miami Herald.)

The Advancement Project, a multi-racial civil rights organization, suggested a "Voter Bill of Rights" featuring the following recommendations:

  1. Reinstate Early Voting days cut by Governor Scott and members of the Florida legislature. Require early voting for at least 14 days, including weekends and the last Sunday before Election Day, as well as ensure voting for 12 hours each day.
  2. More early voting sites. There should be at least one early voting site plus one additional for every 65,000 registered voters in the each county.
  3. Local discretion in determining early voting sites. Supervisors of Elections should have discretion to choose the best sites for Early Voting and Election Day based upon local needs.
  4. Increased polling place resources. A formula should be used to ensure an adequate number of voters, poll workers, machines, privacy booths, scanners, printers and translators per polling place.
  5. Better voter assistance and bilingual access. Improved voter assistance and translation at the polls is necessary to ensure every voter has the right to vote a complete ballot with full understanding.
  6. Ensure provisional ballots are counted. Provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct or polling place should be counted for non-precinct related elections i.e., countywide, statewide and federal offices.
  7. Provide adequate notice of polling location. Voters should be informed of polling locations at least 30 days before an election. Ultimately, on Election Day voters should be able to cast a ballot in any polling location within their county of residence.
  8. A representative Community Advisory Board including voters of color, low-income voters, persons with disabilities, and the elderly. Rather than the state changing voting laws in ways that decrease access and discriminate, the people of Florida should have open channels to government officials to communication what is needed to ensure free, fair and accessible elections so all eligible citizens can vote.


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