On The Florida Roundup, we take a look at three big decisions out of Washington, D.C. this week: the U.S. Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage and the Voting Rights Act as well as the U.S. Senate's vote on the immigration bill.
In Tallahassee, a series of proposals to repair the state election system is finding broad support in the Legislature that many say broke the voting process two years ago.
A Senate bill instituting one of the reforms proposed by Secretary of State Ken Detzner has already been filed and there are clear signals from a House elections subcommittee that it will prepare a bill to launch the rest of them.
The state's election bureaucracy and local elections officials have already agreed that more early voting days would shorten the lines that kept voters waiting for hours on Nov. 6.
Now, Gov. Rick Scott -- who promoted and then signed the 2011 bill that reduced the early voting period -- has joined the chorus. He said Thursday county elections supervisors should have the option to conduct early voting on as many as 14 days, the number there was before the Legislature reduced it to eight.
When Gov. Rick Scott recently listed ways he thinks Florida could reduce voting difficulties and long polling lines, he drew the most attention for a change of course in suggesting that more early voting might help.
But another idea Scott raised may have more far-reaching implications for public policy in Florida, and might even be more difficult to accomplish than the politically volatile suggestion about early voting.
"Gaping holes" in Florida's absentee voting process have undermined public faith in election outcomes, according to the Miami-Dade County grand jury in its concluding report. The grand jury also concluded those holes need to be plugged immediately.
At the top of the list of the grand jury's 23 urgent recommendations:
In what may be a preview of the governor’s race, former governor Charlie Crist directly criticized Governor Rick Scott before a U.S. Senate hearing on voting rights. Crist was critical of Scott for helping to pass a 2011 election law that limited early voting hours.
State elections chief Ken Detzner told the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee on Tuesday that it was five "underperforming" counties that caused the delays in reporting the Florida vote count after the Nov. 6 election.
Chairman Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) said he'll call for the elections supervisors from Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Lee counties to testify before his committee next month. "There's enough blame to go around," Latvala said.
Miami Dade County election workers are expecting to finish processing absentee ballots sometime today. Then, they'll be able to tell President Obama whether he also won Florida on election day.
The bags of thousands of ballots are the result of a series of voting snafus related to high turnout and restrictive voting rules that persuaded hordes of local voters to vote absentee rather than wait in line, possibly for hours, at their polling stations.
State election officials say they have received just over 1 million early votes and more than 1.5 million absentee ballots. Meanwhile, election officials are visiting Palm Beach County again. The county's election office has been plagued with printing problems on its absentee ballots.