WUFT News

State releases plan to improve Florida elections

By on February 4th, 2013

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner released on Monday his recommendations for increasing accessibility and efficiency in Florida elections.

Detzner made the recommendations, which include extending the early voting schedule, adding new and larger early voting sites and limiting ballot length, after Florida Gov. Rick Scott tasked Detzner with seeking out and receiving input from elections experts throughout the state on how to improve Florida elections and voter confidence, according to Sunshine State News.

Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter said these proposals could be very beneficial for voter turnout and voter education.

Carpenter said the proposed expansion of early voting from eight to 14 days would definitely make a difference.

Changes to the Florida Election Code in 2011 slashed early voting days from 14 to eight but maintained the maximum 96-hour early voting period, according to Detzner’s report.

In the 2012 election, Alachua County had about 14,000 fewer early voters than in 2008, Carpenter said.

“Our biggest drop in participation was during the early voting time frame,” she said. ”I truly believe that the expanded number of days would benefit our community.”

Carpenter said the length of the ballot and the complexity of its language were the biggest complaints she heard during the election.

Detzner’s report recommends constitutional amendments or revisions by the Florida Legislature be limited to 75 words. Carpenter said it’s a move in the right direction.

“The full ballot question is available online,” she said. “There’s an opportunity for the public to be educated and get in-depth information, but the summary doesn’t need to have all of that on it.”

Jenna Lyons wrote this story online.


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