State lawmakers have passed an election reform bill designed to help fix the long lines and counting delays that plagued last Novembers election.
Two years ago, they reduced the number of early voting days to eight. The new legislation will allow supervisors of elections to offer up to 14 days of early voting, and 12 hours of voting each day.
That means polls can stay open for 72 more hours in early voting than under current law.
The bill also expands the authorized sites for early voting.
Democrats and Republicans joined together in support of the bill and said Floridians should like it.
Said Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, We heard their concerns and were working to change the voting in Florida for the better. Im happy that well pass a bill that will increase the time and the locations available for early voting.
Elections are important," said Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart. "They are truly the building blocks of democracy, so thank you and with that I ask for everyones support of this good bill.
Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee: We want to make sure that no one is standing in line at 3 oclock in the morning after the president has already been announced as the winner.
Im voting up on this bill today," said Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, "not because its where we want to be, but its better than where we were and I look forward to us coming back next session and fixing it just a little bit more.
In addition, the election bill limits first versions of constitutional amendments from the Legislature to 75 words.
Lengthy ballots last November were also blamed for causing long lines because voters had to read very long amendments.
Dave Heller is a Tallahassee freelance reporter/videographer.