After days of long lines and long waits for early voting, Florida Democrats asked Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, to extend early voting. It now ends on Saturday, because Republicans cut the number of days for early voting in half. Citing heavy turnout, Dems and League of Women Voters asked Governor Scott to restore voting this Sunday, the last day for “Souls to the Polls” drives before the election.
Governor Scott said no. From the Broward/Palm Beach New Times:
“Early voting will end Saturday night,” Scott told reporters in response to the request. “But I want everybody to get out to vote.”
Scott’s Republican predecessor, Governor Charlie Crist, extended early voting in 2008 because voters were waiting in line for several hours. Then Barack Obama won the state, and Florida Republicans decided fewer days would be better somehow.
Florida Republicans have cut into Democrats’ lead in early and absentee voting this year. But here’s the thing about early voting: It gives campaigns a greater chance of bringing in voters who might not otherwise vote. They can make appointments with marginal voters to get them to the polls, and the first appointment doesn’t work, they can go back for a second and third and fourth try. Democrats in Florida seem to be doing just that. Among voters who’ve missed the last few elections, Democrats say they’re winning this time by more than 77,000 votes.
(Florida photos: Up top, an hour and a half wait Tuesday in Palm Beach Gardens, Brian Hashiguchi; below, an hour wait Sunday in Winter Park, Florida, by Stacy Forrest; How to send us stuff.)