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Miami-Dade Group Meets To Consider Election Law Changes

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Voting machines in Florida (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Voting machines in Florida (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

David-Sutta-600x450 David Sutta
David Sutta joined the CBS4 news team in April of 2007. As S...
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campaign 2012 new2 Miami Dade Group Meets To Consider Election Law Changes

MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) – For the first time Friday, Miami-Dade’s election task force agreed to five ideas to prevent another election fiasco.

The proposals are meant to avoid a repeat of the 8 hour lines to vote and days to count the votes.

This is just the second meeting for the Task Force but due to an upcoming vote by the Miami-Dade Commission they forced the proposal through.  The commission will vote next week on a delegation agenda for their Tallahassee legislators.

The five recommendations include:

- Expanding the number of early voting sites.  Currently it is limited to just city halls, libraries, and election offices.

- Limiting ballot amendment language to 75 words

- Allowing the elections supervisors to canvas absentee ballots for 20 days instead of the current 15.

-Changing the name of absentee voting to “vote by mail”

-Changing the number of early voting days from eight to nine.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez had originally considered asking for 14 days of early voting.

After some discussion though he said it would be difficult to get that through the Florida legislature.  He changed his goal to 9 days which includes two full weekends.

“You add that day and we, the county, add a number of sites, double, triple the number of site you won’t have to wait an hour, two hours to vote.” Gimenez said.

The question remains though will Tallahassee react to the changes?

“There is enough blame to go around.  It was death by a thousand paper cuts.  I think now we have to come together.”  Representative Jose Felix Diaz said.

Felix-Diaz is the Co-Chair of the Dade delegation who will have to push the Commission’s agenda.  He told CBS4 News that he is hopeful Tallahassee will pass meaningful reform.  Already Felix-Diaz has been named to a newly formed elections committee in the house.

“The Speaker said that election reform is one of his top three priorities so I think it’s going to be a very big ticket item for the Dade Delegation and the state as a whole.”  Felix Diaz said.

At the Coast Guard air station in Opa Locka, Governor Rick Scott and asked if he would put forth election reform.  He would not commit but welcomed the debate.

“Look, I don’t want, none of us want long lines.  I want people to feel comfortable. People who have the right to vote, go vote.” Scott said.

The Miami-Dade commission will vote next week on whether to push this ideas passed by the task force on to Tallahassee.

Before they vote though they will be getting an after-action report from Miami-Dade.  The report is an analysis of what happened in Miami-Dade County.

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