May 19, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott Signs Bill To Reduce Election Fraud

The Miami Herald is reporting on Florida's new election law bill, HB 1355, signed by Governor Rick Scott to reduce election fraud. The elections billpassed the Florida Legislature with overwhelming Republican support.

Excerpts from the Miami Herald report:
-- “I want people to vote, but I also want to make sure there’s no fraud involved in elections,” Scott said. “All of us as individuals that vote want to make sure that our elections are fair and honest.”

-- Early voting is reduced from 15 days to eight days, but the total number of early voting hours will stay at 96; no additional early voting sites.

-- Voters who have moved or changed their name since the last election can only update their status at the polls if they have moved within the same county. All others must cast provisional ballots.

-- Third-party groups that register new voters must submit forms within 48 hours or face fines of up to $1,000.

-- A nine-member panel will choose the date of Florida’s 2012 presidential preference primary to maximize the state’s influence in selecting the Republican nominee.

-- The 2012 primary election will be on Aug. 14, two weeks earlier than usual.

-- Democrats, labor unions and voter advocacy groups have been up in arms for weeks, saying the bill was designed to stifle turnout in Florida next year, especially among students. Democrats in Congress have asked the U.S. Justice Department to block the bill from taking effect.

-- Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who’s up for re-election next year, and Florida’s six House Democrats sent the Justice Department a letter calling the new law “a clear violation of the Voting Rights Act.”

-- The law takes effect immediately . . . But in five counties it won’t go into effect until the federal government approves. Any change in state election laws that affects those counties — Hillsborough, Collier, Monroe, Hendry and Hardee — requires approval by the Justice Department in a process known as “pre-clearance.”

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