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Fri Aug 17, 2012, 11:34 AM

Is your county going to allow 12 days of early voting?

I just got off the phone from calling both my local Supervisor of Elections office (Leon County) and the Florida Division of Elections. My question for both was, "With yesterday's federal court decision that five Florida counties will not be allowed to restrict early voting days to only eight days, will ALL Florida counties also extend their early voting days?"

Neither office has an answer - it's as if they never considered that point. After getting referred to the Division of Election's General Counsel's office, the person who might possibly have an opinion was on another line, so I am waiting for a call back.

I urge EVERY Floridian here to call their local Supervisor of Election office and ask. The federal court ruling only applies to Collier, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough and Monroe counties, which are covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This leaves the other 62 Florida counties with fewer days to vote which I believe is inherently unfair.

As I told the woman at the Florida Division of Elections General Counsel's office, if I have fewer days available to vote, I will be talking to the ACLU.

Let's push our Supervisors of Election to get an opinion from the state office and to offer the 12 days of early voting that we had in 2008 and 2010.

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Reply Is your county going to allow 12 days of early voting? (Original post)
csziggy Aug 2012 OP
spin Aug 2012 #1
csziggy Aug 2012 #2
spin Aug 2012 #3
csziggy Aug 2012 #4
spin Aug 2012 #5
csziggy Aug 2012 #6

Response to csziggy (Original post)

Fri Aug 17, 2012, 12:38 PM

1. You can always use an absentee ballot in Florida ...

I have for years and while I can't say how early the ballot comes, it sure makes voting easier. I mainly like it because it allows me plenty of time to research and consider all my choices. I receive my ballot in the mail well before the election, make my choices and put it back in the mail box several days before the election.

For info visit: http://election.dos.state.fl.us/voting/absentee.shtml

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Response to spin (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 17, 2012, 12:46 PM

2. Traditionally provisional and absentee ballots are NOT counted

That came out in 2000. Unless there are enough absentee and provisional ballots to change the results, they are generally NEVER counted, just thrown in the trash one the election is certified and beyond challenge. While I know that my county's Supervisor of Election counts ALL ballots, I would not rely on it if he ever leaves office. I trust the man who is running the process, not the actual process itself, which is sad.

As many people, I prefer voting in person anyway. While I also prefer voting on Election Day in case some last minute information comes out that might change my choices, I have used early voting over the last few elections for practical reasons. My regular polling place has a gravel surface parking lot and with my bad knees I had trouble navigating it.

For the primary this month, I voted early the day after I got out of the rehabilitation hospital for my second knee replacement. I knew I could not get around the gravel lot with my walker but the early voting location is fully paved and I knew I could get in and out there.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #2)

Fri Aug 17, 2012, 01:43 PM

3. If the election isn't close, why should it matter?

While I probably an not in as much pain as you, I also have mobility problems as I suffer from degenerative disc disease and also am a candidate for a hip replacement. I have a handicapped tag for my car. It is extremely painful for me to stand for any length of time, consequently I decided to get an absentee ballot. Once I found out that you didn't have to be handicapped to get an absentee ballot, I suggested getting one to other members of my family and my friends. Many did.

Of course the election might corrupted and controlled by one party or by outside individuals. I have some distrust of electronic voting that lacks a paper trail.

If so your vote doesn't count anyway.

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Response to spin (Reply #3)

Fri Aug 17, 2012, 02:19 PM

4. Every vote should be counted, not just the 'main' ones

There should be no distinction according to how they were cast or who cast them. How are the voters to know how close an election is if an entire category of ballots are ignored simply because they are not in some pre-determined class? Absentee ballots are needed and places such as Washington state do very well with putting all voters on the same voting method with them. But I don't like the idea that just because the scanned ballots reach a certain result, absentee and provisional ballots can just be tossed.

The only time I voted absentee was my first opportunity to vote - 1972. I was a college student and my legal residence was my parents' address, 350 miles away. Of course, that was the first time I felt as though an election was stolen with Nixon's dirty tricks.

Fortunately I am now in much less pain than before the knee replacements - the day after the surgery I could say that. Next week I will be healed enough to begin building strength and endurance. So my disability is now only temporary.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #4)

Fri Aug 17, 2012, 03:26 PM

5. That is a fair point ...

and I basically agree.

But to be realistic lets suppose that an election occurred in a county and candidate A received 10,000 votes and candidate B got 8000. In that county there were 1000 absentee ballots. Is it worth the time and expense to count the absentee ballots as they would make no difference in the election?

I propose that we need to develop an absentee ballot that could be run through a machine and counted just as a ballot cast at the polls would be. This would be a definite improvement over our current system.

Of course any electronic vote tabulators have to be both tamper proof and hacker proof. They also should provide a paper trail in case of a close election or if there are serious questions about the reliability of the election results. Such machines should be certified by an outside reliable organization or several before use.

Note that it might already be possible to run absentee ballots through vote tabulating machines that currently exist. If so, there is no excuse for why this isn't done.

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Response to csziggy (Original post)

Fri Aug 17, 2012, 09:33 PM

6. Got an answer from the Florida Department of State

"The ruling is not a final one and only applies to the five counties under federal review. The state of Florida will adhere to any final ruling that applies to those counties. The other 62 counties will still have 8 days of early voting."
Gary Holland, 850-245-6536

I've talked to someone in my state Representative's office and they are working on it.

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