BRADENTON — Over 14,000 voters have signed on to a petition demanding that Florida Governor Rick Scott expand early voting in the sunshine state. Lines throughout Florida during early voting for the November 2012 general election were unprecedented, often forcing people to wait multiple hours to vote in lines, contributing to Florida not reporting its results for four days after the election, its second 50th place finish in just four presidential cycles.
The advocacy group Pink Slip Rick is blaming the governor and the Republican-dominated legislature for creating the voting fiasco, when they passed an elections bill overhauling the early vote process. The bill shortened early voting days from 14 to eight and closed down polling locations on the Sunday before Election Day, a day traditionally known as “Souls to the Polls”, where large numbers of African Americans have traditionally headed to early voting sights after religious services.
The group's Executive Director Susannah Randolph said, “This is nothing more than voter suppression called on by Rick Scott and pushed through by his puppets in the Florida legislature. He’s trying to pull cards out of his sleeve and set up a hand that will result in him stealing the 2014 election. The truth is, he has to enact these laws making it more difficult and frustrating for people to vote because suppressing votes is the only way he will win re-election. We will not sit back and let Pink Slip Rick steal the 2014 election.”
According to former state GOP boss Jim Greer, Randolph is on to something.
“The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates,” Greer told The Palm Beach Post. “It’s done for one reason and one reason only."
Greer said that reason is a competitive edge at the polls.
"‘We’ve got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us,’” Greer said he was told by those staffers and consultants. “They never came in to see me and tell me we had a (voter) fraud issue,” Greer said. “It’s all a marketing ploy.”
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