TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Two Miami lawmakers have filed the first legislation that would expand early voting, though the measure wouldn’t allow for as many days as previously allowed.
The proposals, filed by Republican Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla and Democratic Sen. Gwen Margolis, follow a recommendation from a Miami-Dade advisory group that examined what went wrong with the November presidential election.
The Republican Legislature shortened the number of early voting days from 14 to eight before this past election, but some leading Republicans, including Gov. Rick Scott, have said in the wake of long lines on Election Day that they have may have gone too far.
The GOP bill (SB 176) would boost the number of early voting days to nine, but one of those would have to be the Sunday before Election Day. That’s a nod to Democrats, who have complained about the loss of that day, on which early voting had been allowed previously.
The bill would also allow local supervisors of elections to provide up to two additional hours per day of early voting if they wish. Diaz de la Portilla is from Miami, which experienced some of the longest lines on Election Day, leading some critics to say that shortening of the number of early voting days was a mistake.
Margolis’ legislation calls for 14 days of early voting, instead of the current eight, and it would allow for more early-voting sites.
The Miami-Dade advisory group made additional suggestions Monday, including allowing voters to return absentee ballots in person at their polling places on Election Day, and setting a goal for how long the average voter should wait in line at the polls.
“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”