Gov. Charlie Crist Expands Early Voting Hours in Florida

Governor Charlie Crist of Florida has really gone off the reservation with this one. What about "landslide abatement" does he not understand?

Gov. Charlie Crist on Tuesday extended early voting hours across Florida to 12 hours a day.

The executive order comes after record early voting turnout has contributed to long lines at polling sites. [...]

With Crist's order, early voting sites will be open the rest of this week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. They will be open a total of 12 hours on Saturday and Sunday, the last day of early voting.

"It's not a political decision," Crist said moments after signing the order, which declares a state of emergency in Florida. "It's a people decision."

It's sad when we're actually surprised when a Republican acts to expand access to voting, but it's no wonder; this is Florida, after all. Not only are the wounds of 2000 not completely healed, but it was the GOP legislature itself that in 2005 limited the early vote hours that have resulted in the long lines at early vote polling places this year.

Saying early voting cost too much money with rules that weren't uniform, Republican legislators led a charge three years ago to set new statewide standards limiting the number of polling sites and their hours of operation. [...]

The 82-36 House vote was largely along party lines, with Democrat [sic] motions to expand the hours all falling flat.

House Bill 1567 took effect during the 2006 election cycle. Before its passage, early voting centers could remain open for up to 12 hours on weekdays, and for a total of eight hours over the weekend.

And it was only three days ago that Crist was against expanding early vote hours before he was for it:

The long lines for early voting, which started Monday, prompted the state's Democratic members of Congress to ask the Republican governor to issue an executive order extending the hours.

"I understand that they're asking for that, but it's also my understanding that the law says it's eight hours. We've got to uphold the law," Crist said in a brief interview before he addressed a Republican Party rally in Fort Lauderdale.

Crist's action today via executive order reverts early voting hours to the previous 12 hours per day and 12 hours over the weekend. That means that between today and Sunday (when early voting ends), people will be able to vote an additional 20 hours and, perhaps more important, many polling places that had closed at 3pm will now close at 7pm.

Whether Crist's action is out of the goodness of his heart, a result of political pressure from Democrats or out of pure political expediency (no one wants to be the next Katherine Harris), Crist should be applauded for this move today. It's a rare example of a Republican acting contrary to our worst expectations of them.

Tags: Charlie Crist, florida early voting (all tags)

Comments

31 Comments

Early Voting

I don't want to sound like the right wing alarmist, but can you imagine the reaction of at least 50% of the country if the vote is stolen like it was in 2000? I can tell you there would definately be unrest here in San Francisco.

by RandyMI 2008-10-28 01:11PM | 0 recs
I also have heard

Did he not snub McCain a week or so ago at a rally?

He was supposudely on a short list for VP?

I imagine he was not pleased being passed over for Hot Fashion Dress-Up Moose Huntress....

by WashStateBlue 2008-10-28 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: I also have heard

Yeah, while McCain was here in Tampa Crist had a "previous engagement" at Disney World.  

I think Crist realizes all too well that McCain is a goner, and why get yourself emblazoned with that?  Besides, Crist has governed and campaigned as a moderate, to the chagrin of most of the conservative Republican braintrust in this state, which was used to unapologetic right-winger Jeb Bush.  I think Crist realizes that the country and our state are shifting rapidly to the left, and for him to see a second term as governor he must stay in the middle and at times veer left.  

by devilrays 2008-10-28 05:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Crist Expands Early Voting Hours

Very welcome news. I live in Florida and wanted to crawl under a rock in 2000. Good on Crist for making an intelligent decision, regardless of motivation or party affiliation.

by phoenixdreamz 2008-10-28 01:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Gov. Charlie Crist Expands Early Voting Hours
Last year Charlie Crist went out of his way to restore voting rights to felons in FL who had served their time. That was pretty far off the reservation then too.
Maybe the guy really does care about voting rights?! Either way, this ought to make his job of governing FL much easier. Certainly the Republicans can't blame him for McCain's loss, and the Dems will have to remember this. I think it was a smart move. And it can't hurt him much if he's thinking national.
by DareninGA 2008-10-28 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Gov. Charlie Crist Expands Early Voting Hours
I get the impression listening to him that he's a moderate Repup, a rare breed if ever there was. He has done a few things, like reinstating felons' voting rights, actually fixing election problems, and now this, that makes me believe there is a shred of hope for the Republican party to return to a degree of sanity it hasn't had since the 1970s.
by Spiffarino 2008-10-28 07:20PM | 0 recs
Gov. Crist Expands Early Voting Hours
I'm always suspicious when a Republican does something altruistic -- I'm from Texas, home of the "the Compassionate Republican--UGH!"
HDDUN2008 Houston
by hddun2008 2008-10-28 01:22PM | 0 recs
Is Crist looking out for #1?

When Republicans do something that looks good, I ask, how could this be self-serving?

Maybe Crist is doing the right thing b/c it's the right thing. Maybe he's doing it to snub McCain. Maybe he's convinced Obama is going to win and the Dems are gonna dominate Washington so he wants to be able to call in a favor.

Or maybe...

What if the GOP is planning (or doing) something particularly sinister or illegal to disenfranchise Democrats in Florida?

What if Crist knows about it? What if Crist expects that Florida Republicans are going to be prosecuted for this scheme if Obama is elected? What if Crist's involvement is in the gray zone? He knows about it and is at least tacitly allowing it?

Doing something high profile to assist Dem voters could be used by his PR people and defense attorneys to cast reasonable doubt on his involvement.

Another scenario: what if the GOP has figured a way to throw out early votes selectively? They'd want more Dems to vote early.

by Carl Nyberg 2008-10-28 01:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Crist looking out for #1?

Or maybe the guy just doesn't believe in cheating to win?

I know I am in the minority here because I believe that not all Republicans are evil (they are almost always wrong, but rarely truly evil.)

Its also possible that he is doing it because there is no net gain in NOT doing it. It is easy to forget that most people want what is best for the country and simply disagree about what that is...

by JDF 2008-10-28 01:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Crist looking out for #1?

Experience has taught me Republicans compete in elections to win.

They are willing to do stuff that hurts people to win elections.

Maybe Crist is different, but most of the elected Republicans who were different got out of the game when they learned what Gingrich was about. And the rest were persuaded to retire by Bush/Rove/Cheney.

by Carl Nyberg 2008-10-28 02:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Crist looking out for #1?

Maybe by doing this as an Executive Order he is setting up a court challenge to invalidate all the early votes.

by antiHyde 2008-10-28 05:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Crist looking out for #1?

That's thinking like a ratfucker!

by Carl Nyberg 2008-10-28 07:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Is Crist looking out for #1?

I was a Civil Servant during the reign of King Richard Nixon. I've seen it all.

by antiHyde 2008-10-30 03:55PM | 0 recs
Good for him

He seems like an okay guy.  He has for as long as I've known of him

There are decent Republicans, folks.  It demeans us to deny it.

by Reaper0Bot0 2008-10-28 01:30PM | 0 recs
We are about to do the decent ones a favor

IMHO.

Flushing out folks like Michelle Bachman, maybe Saxby Chambliss could help the sane ones in the long run.

Think of it as a forest fire, we burn out the old growth, and the new timber comes in...

by WashStateBlue 2008-10-28 01:34PM | 0 recs
The other consideration is

It took a superb effort (and the job is not done yet) for the Obama team to come this far, considering the entrenched power of the Republican poltical machine.

And, they are going to need every bit of that discipline and structure, given the nightmare they are walking into.

One more thing, it's clear the Republicans are exhausted, they are gasping for breath, spent, they need to regroup and recharge. The desperately need fresh blood, new ideas, they need to rethink this, cause we are seeing the end of a generation, to a large extent, even IF he doesn't flip NC or GA, Obama is going to effectively end the Southern Strategy.

The Republicans are wedded to an idea that is almost 5 decades old and it is showing every bit of that age?

Is that the team you want walking into this nightmare?

Folks, even those crazies walking out of the Palin rallies need us to win it for them.

McCain and a spent bankrupt Republican party has no prayer of getting us out of the ditch, and Barack will have to be perhaps the best President of my lifetime to do it anyway?

Here's hoping and praying...

by WashStateBlue 2008-10-28 01:44PM | 0 recs
A case where decency and expediency coincide

Charlie Crist cares about Charlie Crist's political career, period. This is for sure.  But Crist is a very smart cookie.  He sees better than almost all Republicans that the current and recent past behavior of his party is driving it off a cliff, and is thinking about five chess moves ahead.  He wants to win re-election in 2010 by a huge margin, to set him up for the presidential nomination in 2012.  He wants to blunt Democratic enthusiasm in Florida.  So he signs laws restoring felons voting rights, brings uniform paper ballots statewide, and now he extends voting hours.  How much do these gestures cost?  Very little.  How much goodwill does he earn?  Plenty.

by GreginFL 2008-10-28 01:45PM | 0 recs
Re: A case where decency and expediency coincide

Well if I HAVE to choose a Republican, I think I might like a smart one for a change?

Better him (from what I know) then Palin taking over the party...

by WashStateBlue 2008-10-28 01:49PM | 0 recs
Re: A case where decency and expediency coincide

But we can't get fooled.

This is the same Charlie whose solution to the economic issues facing Florida is t accelerate a couple of projects and hold a press conference. Laughable compared to the $9 billion he's pulled out of the economy thanks to budget cuts and billion more he will pull out next year.

Where was he last week, when early voting started? Dan Gelber warned about this years ago and Charlie had plenty of time to fix this, but didn't. He waited until now to do it in a way that is getting him sued by a bunch of elections officials and will land the decision in court, when he could have just fixed it in 2007?

Because he is more concerned about news stories about voting problems in Florida again than he is about the actual issues. Yes, he gets some goodwill, but lets not give him too much credit.

He is Governor, and too much of what he does is responsive and too little too late. Because he is always looking out for Number 1 and not Floridians -- unless like today they happen to cross paths.

by DraftAlexSink 2008-10-28 02:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Gov. Charlie Crist Expands

"Both candidates have begun locking down some of their supporters in early voting in these two battlegrounds. Among those who have already voted in Ohio, Obama has a big lead: 57% to 35%. But McCain is slightly ahead in Florida among early voters, 49% to 45%"

LA Times today.

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la- na-poll29-2008oct29,0,7008892.story

by mady 2008-10-28 02:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Gov. Charlie Crist Expands

Or maybe not?

In the battleground state of Florida, for example, Democrats make up 45 percent of the early vote, against 40 percent for the Republicans.

http://www.tallahassee.com/article/20081 028/CAPITOLNEWS/810280328

TALLAHASSEE - With the presidential election still a week out, nearly one-fifth of Florida's electorate has already cast ballots. And Florida Democrats are claiming they've got an edge over Republicans among the more than 2.3 million voters who have already cast ballots.

The state Democratic Party said Tuesday that 53 percent of the nearly 1.2 million early voters were Democrats compared to 30 percent who were Republicans.

Of the 1.1 million absentee ballots returned so far, Republicans have a 49 percent to 35 percent advantage over Democrats, the party said. That adds up to give Democrats an overall 44-39 percent edge in ballots cast.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/poli tics/orl-early-voting-ballots-102808,0,7 282763.story

So, absentees, Repbulicans seem to have a lead?

I'm not so sure in early voting that the Repubs are leading?

Have to check where the LA times got their numbers....

by WashStateBlue 2008-10-28 02:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Gov. Charlie Crist Expands

I was surprised, and I hope you find out something.  Just very skeptical of a Florida GOP governor doing anything for the sake of democracy.  I hope you are right though, as far as the early voting results.

by mady 2008-10-28 02:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Gov. Charlie Crist Expands

Hi Mady,

Well, as I commented on the other thread, this STILL is probably a net for us.

If they run their usual surpression games, too few machines in our districts, lots of challenges, half the game there is Slow down the polls so our working folks may have to bail early or get their too late?

The more folks we crank through the polls early the better for us.

by WashStateBlue 2008-10-28 02:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Gov. Charlie Crist Expands

The LA Times is most certainly wrong with their numbers.  Must have been from a week ago when Republicans had a head start due to the larger abesentee ballots request.  

by devilrays 2008-10-28 05:19PM | 0 recs
Credit Where Credit is Due

Todd, we should give credit where it is due. Charlie is about 3 years late to the party even if other Republicans never plan on attending. He's had a long time to fix this and waited until the pressure was to great to bend after the voting already started.

It is reported that the only legislator he consulted was Florida House Minority Leader Dan Gelber (see: http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2008/10/c rist-extends-e.html)

The reason why he warned everyone about this three years ago:

http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/files/hb_ 1567h.264%20300Kbps.mov

by DraftAlexSink 2008-10-28 02:45PM | 0 recs
"Off the reservation?" Todd!

I expect better from the leaders here.  Seems like I'm gonna make myself a pest on this one; I repeat verbatim my post 9 days ago in response to a mydd poster on a Bachmann thread:

Again with the "off the reservation."  Come on, people - this is an offensive phrase.  Here's a Daily Kos thread on the subject from 2005:

Can we stop with "Off the Reservation"?
by opus
Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 07:24:15 PM PDT

I'm not normally one for excessive "PC-ness" -- and I don't even usually get upset about things like the names of Sports teams...but this expression bothers me. Our country perpetrated a crime on all these people and now we casually use an expression that derives from complaints about them not knowing "their place"?

Am I alone in this?
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/2/28/ 222415/862/734/95899

by Rob McC again 2008-10-28 04:18PM | 0 recs
Re: "Off the reservation?" Todd!

Yeah, this sort of oversensitivity (or PC-ness) is one thing people don't like about Liberals.

No one means any offense.  I don't even see by any stretch of the imagination how you can read any ill will into it in the context of this post.

Let's keep our eyes on the prize.

by nintendofanboy 2008-10-28 05:34PM | 0 recs
Re: "Off the reservation?" Todd!

Thank you.  I completely agree - no one means offense when they use this phrase.

I stayed out of those MyDD Dem primary flame wars a while back, wholly detesting the rancor.  I've no intention of pissing anew in the pool; I respect everyone's engagement and participation too much to be "always with the negative waves."  And yes, there are MUCH more urgent issues upon us.  So, I won't be arguing this point, beyond making this small observation.

Earlier this election season many of us winced, some of us deeply convulsed, when the terms "lynching" and "assassination" were prominently brought to the fore by two national personalities.  In charity, I'll allow that neither speaker meant any offense or intimidation.  Nonetheless, many still live for whom those words stand for all too recent and unforgettable terrors.  Blessings on those who find ways to say what they need to without summoning such horrific and lasting acts of hatred.

I think the difference here is that the origin of the 'reservation' phrase is in a past so distant that most of us actually have to be reminded that it too represents the same level of tragic hatred.  For most of us, perhaps -- but not for all.

However, even if the evoked terrors were from many long centuries ago, beyond all memory, I think the concern would remain.  For example, Monty Python jokes about the "Spanish Inquisition", but if that term were constantly, thoughtlessly, and callously used by pols, pundits, and the public, wouldn't some of us mourn, if only in a few brief moments of quite reflection, the coarsening of our life and times?

At the Free Press National Conference on Media Reform last June, I videotaped Chickasaw Nation Industry's Geoffrey Blackwell speaking on a spectrum policy panel about the challenges of bringing broadband access to the reservations  (http://blip.tv/file/1252530/) .

Later in the session, a fellow panelist, whom I've worked with occasionally and deeply admire and respect, said, regarding municipal wi-fi policy, something like, "Well, I guess I'm off the reservation on this issue."  He instantly understood the implications of his comments, and in collegial friendship, apologetically placed his hand on Geoffrey's shoulder, stammering.  He understood then the meanings of that phrase, like perhaps he never had before.  

Moi aussi.

Again, in the future I'll not go on at length about this here - please carry on.  But here, or on Huff, or on OpenLeft, or any other fora I may be on, I'll probably continue to gently remind contributors who use this phrase of the blessed grace in retiring it.

I noticed an NBC newscast this summer where Bryan Williams colloquially used the phrase.  As I said previously, I expect leadership especially has a responsibility for helping point us to a higher path.

On the sunny side,
Rob McCausland  

by Rob McC again 2008-10-28 09:04PM | 0 recs
Re: "Off the reservation?" Todd!

Fair enough (and you're in good company).  

As we go out among the non-lefties though, I'd hate for us to reinforce the caricature of the PC, buzz kill, cry baby Liberal that society wrongly makes us out to be.

We all know it is really the right wing, particularly the religious right, that sends the letters, bitches, complains and is the squeaky wheel on EVERYTHING they consider to be remotely offensive.

So I go out of my way to ignore these little quibbles.  The real history is terrible and should be remembered, but once an idiomatic phrase has been divorced from its historic roots I let it go.  (I had to look up the origins of "beyond the pale" for example.  It doesn't even make sense in modern English, but we know what it means.)

E.g, I may even let "lynch" slide as a figure of speech, but "assassination" is unacceptable given obvious historical parallels between Obama and the Kennedys.

That's my take.

Take care and see you around the site:-)

by nintendofanboy 2008-10-30 06:57PM | 0 recs
Good for Crist


    the man has a sense of honor. No one wants to be the next Katherine Harris, least of all the governor of a state like FL.

   After his party gets olbliterated next week, the GOP will be desperately looking to bounce back in 4 years. The Governor of FL...the ultimate battleground, is always an intriguing possibility. He doesn't want to jeopardize that.

   However, the real news here is all the GOP operatives bitching him out in the media and his F-U response to them.

  When more people vote, the country wins. These GOP operatives need to shut up. In a free country, sometimes other people win.

by southernman 2008-10-28 05:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Gov. Charlie Crist Expands Early Voting Hours

First early voting in OH and now extended hours in FL?!

This can't be good news for McPalin.

by nintendofanboy 2008-10-28 05:19PM | 0 recs

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