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South Florida Elections Officials Blamed For Election's Long Lines, Delayed Count

Florida Channel

State elections chief Ken Detzner told the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee on Tuesday that it was five "underperforming" counties that caused the delays in reporting the Florida vote count after the Nov. 6 election.

Chairman Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) said he'll call for the elections supervisors from Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Lee counties to testify before his committee next month. "There's enough blame to go around," Latvala said.

Detzner said while all of the counties "underperformed" by, for instance, having too few early voting sites for a greater number of early voters, only one -- St. Lucie -- actually blew the deadline to achieve a certifiable vote count.

But legislative Democrats say much of the blame must rest with Republicans. The Sun Sentinel reports today:

While too-few early voting sites and more early voters are early culprits, Democrats have also suggested the GOP-led elections changes shortening early voting by a week played a role. And Detzner suggested Tuesday the length of the ballot was partly to blame. The GOP-controlled Legislature loaded the ballot this year with 11 constitutional amendments that had a total of 2,263 words. By comparison, the 17 amendments on the ballot between 2002 and 2010 had a total of 2,371 words, according to a legislative staff analysis.

Elections committee hearings underway in Tallahassee are a precursor to an elections bill to cure some of the problems that a 2011 election law rewrite caused. Many say the early voting period should be restored from eight days to its original 14 and local supervisors should have more flexibility to designate early voting sites.

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