Groups call for election reform in Florida

Groups ask Florida Governor Rick Scott to convene task force

MIAMI - Several groups, including the League of Women Voters of Florida and AARP, want Florida Gov. Rick Scott to convene a task force that will look into problems during the 2012 general election.

"The question is what happened between 2008 and 2012," said Lida Rodriguez-Taseff with Miami-Dade Election Reform.

Representatives of the League of Women Voters of Florida, AARP, National Congress of Black Women, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Florida Institute for Reform and Education, Florida Coalition on Black Civic Participation, voter activist LaVon W. Bracy, and other voter protection groups held a news conference on Tuesday.

"We're calling the governor, the Senate, and the House to correct the mistakes we encountered," said Maribel Balbin with the League of Women Voters of Florida.

The groups say election problems include budget cuts to the state's election supervisors, a reduction in early-voting days, a record-long ballot, lines of up to six hours at some precincts and a four day delay in knowing which presidential candidate won Florida.

County contracts show the Miami-Dade Elections Department waited until October to rent about 400 extra voting machines from manufacturer ES&S. But sources told Local 10 media cards to program the machines correctly were not available at the precincts as they were in 2008.

Sources told Local 10 that overcrowded precincts could have been divided among many early in the year because of population shifts and redistricting, but  Miami-Dade's Election Supervisor recommended leaving the precincts as-is.

"We have to start with the premise that says, 'What will make it easier for every person who can vote to vote in the State of Florida.' And, we solve the problem backward from there," said Nadine Smith with Equality Florida.

"We should talk about everything. We should talk about the machines, we should talk about the technology, we should talk about the administration, we should talk about the poll workers, we should talk about the politicians and what role they played. Nothing can be off the table," said Rodriguez-Taseff.

The advocates say the problems have made Florida a national punch-line for late-night comics.

A similar task force was created after election problems surfaced in Florida in 2000.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Broward County Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda Snipes have said reviews of the election process will be done sometime after the general election.

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