Former Florida Gov. condemns election law

Dec. 19, 2012 at 4:52 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist criticized current Gov. Rick Scott's signing of a election law that he said helped suppress the vote in the state.

Scott, a Republican, acknowledged in a CNN interview Wednesday some changes might be required in a law he signed in 2011, which reduced opportunities for early voting and lengthened the ballot, causing long lines at voting stations.

Scott has repeatedly stated the law was intended to improve elections and not rig the system to benefit Republicans, The Miami Herald said Wednesday.

Several hours after Scott's statement, Crist, a former Republican and now a Democrat, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, calling for federal legislation to prevent the confusion and long lines evident in Florida's November elections.

Crist pointed out that, as governor in 2008, he extended polling hours for early in-person voting, a method heavily favored by Democrats, independents and minorities, the newspaper said.

"As Gov. Scott refused to take action to ease the lines, in some cases, those lines extended to six and seven hours," Christ said. "Florida, which four years earlier was a model for efficiency, became once again a late-night TV joke."

Crist's comments came after Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., testified that Florida's 2011 election law changes "were politically motivated," and were "clearly designed to disenfranchise likely Democratic voters and not, as the Republican sponsors in the Legislature contended, to prevent voter fraud."

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