By: Whitney Ray
Tallahassee, Fla. - Senate Democrats are promoting a seven step plan to fix Florida’s election problems. Some of the fixes are already being pushed by GOP legislative leaders, others, As Whitney Ray tells us, will have to be fought for.
Long lines, slow returns and absentee ballot problems plagued voting in Florida last November. To fix the problems, Senate Democrats are proposing a seven step plan.
On the check list are restoring early voting to 14 days, opening the polls the Sunday before Election Day, more precincts, and more inperson absentee voting.
“We had early voting lines that from the open of early voting to the end of early voting, all eight day, has a minimum of four hours,” said State Senator Oscar Braynon.
Many of these fixes were in place before Republican legislative leaders passed a 2011 bill to change Florida’s voting laws.
“If you have better ideas you shouldn’t have to cheat to win,” said Senator Jeff Clemens.
Senator Jeff Clemens says the 2011 bill was a GOP attempt to rig the election.
Reporter: Do you really believe Republicans cheated in 2011 with that elections bill?
Clemens: I think it was their intent to make it harder for people to vote.
Legislative leaders are promising to fix voting this year but Senate Democrats say they can’t support anything that doesn’t have all seven or their criteria.
Senate Minority Leader Chris Smith says his party will hold the line on voting reform.
“If those are not in the bill it would be hard for me to support that bill,” said Smith.
But Republicans have enough members to pass bills without Democratic votes, and so far their fixes fall just shy of the seven steps unveiled Monday.
The 2013 legislative session begins tomorrow but bills to fix voting problems have already been filed and have already been reviewed in committee.