Florida Senate poised to vote on bill that will shorten early voting days

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And reportedly both House and Senate bills now will allow people who move within the same county to be able to cast as they have previously a vote at the polls - only those who have moved out of their previous county would have to cast a provisional ballot (which critics claim don't get counted unless a vote is extremely close).


Another provision has groups like the League of Women Voters howling: That would cut in half the time for citizen groups to put measures on the ballot. Currently the law allows for four years to gather the sufficient amount - that would be cut to two years.


And those 3rd party groups would have to submit registrations to respective Supervisor of Elections offices within 48 hours or face $1,000 fines.


Diaz de la Portilla and his Republican supporters have stressed the need for such a bill to clamp down on voter fraud. But as Kathleen Haughney with the Orlando Sentinel reports:


According to the Florida Department of State, there's been little election fraud in recent years — just 31 cases of alleged voter fraud referred to the Department of Law Enforcement for investigation between January 2008 and March 2011. Two cases resulted in arrests. In a third case, an arrest warrant was issued, but the suspect fled the country.


And in the case of a little bit too much government, the bill allows for a committee to be formed to decide when Floridians will hold their presidential primary next year. Currently, the Florida Presidential primary is slated for January 31 of next year,which simply won't do based on the fact that the Republican National Committee has said that Florida (or any state) cannot have their primary before Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Those states have not firmly announced their dates yet, but they are expected to probably take place in February of next year.


The Legislature could have dealt with this during session by putting a date in March to avoid possible sanctions from the RNC - who is serious about the date, even though lawmakers say Floridians deserve to vote as early as any of the aforementioned states.

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The Florida Senate may vote on Thursday on SB 2086, the election reform bill which would reduce the amount of early voting days from 14 to 10 and the end of practice of allowing voters to file name and address changes at the polls on Election Day (Some media reports say the early voting days would be reduced to 8).

However, the sponsor of the bill in the Senate, Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, has maintained for the last week that the same amount of actual early voting time - 96 hours - would remain as it has been since 2004.

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