After "reviewing" what went wrong in Florida during the November election, Rick Scott came out with so-called recommendations on what needs to be changed.
Here's a shocker: Scott now claims to see what everyone else saw long before it was time to cast a ballot, and before he and the Republican leaders and lawmakers knowingly changed the election laws that caused the entire disaster.
But are these changes enough?
From his statement:
“I asked Secretary Detzner to meet with election supervisors following the November election to identify specific ways we can fix the problems we saw in some counties with long lines and delayed reporting. Our ultimate goal must be to restore Floridians’ confidence in our election system. I asked Sec. Detzner for a report with specific election reform recommendations, because I want to ensure we do whatever possible to improve our election system from the statewide level. “In short, these reforms need to address the three major areas I have previously outlined. We need shorter ballots. We need more early voting days, which should include an option of the Sunday before Election Day. And, we need more early voting locations. From my briefing with Sec. Detzner today, I believe all these reforms are strongly supported by the input and experiences of local election supervisors and others that the department met with for ideas on improving our current system – a system clearly in need of improvement.
“The detail of these three overarching reforms will include, but is not limited to, the following:
* More Early Voting Days – Increase the number of days available for early voting. We should allow Supervisors of Elections the flexibility to offer anywhere between eight and 14 days of early voting. Hours of operation should range between six and 12 hours a day. This should include the Sunday before Election Day, allowing Supervisors the option to accommodate the needs of their community as they requested in committee meetings this week. This would also allow the greatest access to early voting ever in Florida history – at up to 168 hours.
* More Early Voting Locations – Work with Supervisors to allow more and larger early voting locations to help reduce wait times, long lines, and to better convenience voters.
* Shorter Ballot – Reduce the length of the ballot, including the description of proposed constitutional amendments. “I appreciate the secretary’s work in support of our goal to give all Floridians confidence in the fairness and accessibility of our election system. We must continually push to make improvements, and I look forward to working with the Legislature on a bi-partisan bill to implement these reforms this session. I also appreciate the Legislature and the Supervisors of Elections for their feedback in committee meetings this week. As the Legislature continues its work, I look forward to working together to craft legislation that will ensure successful elections by making these important statewide reforms.”
But not so fast.
From Progress Florida:
Scott's latest proposal doesn't necessarily implement any additional early voting hours from what we saw last year. To avoid a repeat of last year's election fiasco, when voters endured unforgivable wait times of up to eight hours, we need to have at least 14 days AND 12 hours per day of early voting for all Florida voters. Voters should have the same access to the ballot regardless of what county they reside in.
Finally, by mandating the last Sunday but allowing for early voting to continue to be limited to eight days, the first Saturday before the election could be eliminated in many counties. In 2012, nearly 250,000 people cast votes on that first Saturday before the election - one of the highest volume days of early voting."
Scott and the Republicans in the legislature haven't given Florida voters any reason to be trusted before, so it remains to be seen what actual changes will come out of all this.
But one thing's for sure, everyone will be watching them very closely.