Heading to the Polls Early

This fall Florida lawmakers hope to head off a repeat of the disastrous 2000 presidential election. A Senate committee is taking up a bill Wednesday that would let voters go to the polls up to 10 days before the election.

Some Florida legislators believe early voting is one way to avoid the pitfalls that have plagued polling places since election 2000’s long lines at the primary, faulty machines and precinct worker no-shows.

Sen. Anna Cowin is sponsoring a bill to open up at least one polling place per 70,000 citizens in every county 10 days before election day.

“Things that are found missing would be better off to find out a few days before the big deluge of votes than on the actual day of voting,” says Sen. Crowin.

Elections supervisor Ion Sancho says early voting has been making the process more convenient in Leon County for nearly a decade.

“Having to stop your work and go on one day to one place to vote is really not the best way to serve the interests of the citizens or the community,” says Sancho.

But making early voting available state wide isn't as easy as it sounds. How many voting locations do you set up, and what about the cost?

Under the Cowin bill, most counties except for the most populated would only need one or two polling places to meet the requirements. Still, voters like Tyraine Warren remain skeptical Florida will ever get it right.

“I think early voting is a decoy, a deception, deliberate deception to create the illusion that they're trying to do the right thing, fix the problem,” says Warren.

But with Florida likely to again be a key state in this presidential election, lawmakers know they better do all they can to ensure we don't have a repeat of 2000.

Sen. Anna Cowin believes Florida could use some of the money it received from the "Help America Vote Act" to open polling places for early voting. Leon County would need to provide two polling places in order to meet the requirements of the proposed law.


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