Rick Scott Admits Florida Voting Law Was A Problem

Dec 19, 2012

Gov. Rick Scott talks Florida voting on CNN.
Credit CNN

During an appearance on CNN on Wednesday, Gov. Rick Scott admitted Florida's voting law-- which he signed into law-- was partially to blame  for Florida's voting troubles this year.

He told Soledad O'Brien during Starting Point on Wednesday that lawmakers in the state have to come up with a bipartisan solution to Florida's voting woes. This year, people stood in lines that were up to six hours long even on Election Day, well after polls closed in other parts of the state.

It took days for Florida to officially finish counting its ballots.

"People are frustrated in our state," Gov. Scott said. "We've got to restore confidence in our election."

Among the problems: provisions in Florida's voting law, which the Legislature passed in 2011.

"I think there's three things," Scott explained. "One: the length. Two: we have to allow supervisors more flexibility on the size of their polling locations, and three: the number of days we have. We have to go back and look at the number of days of early voting we have."

The voting bill that Scott signed is to blame for at least two of those problems. The bill, HB 1355, allowed lawmakers to waive a 75 word limit for ballot measures. This year's 11 constitutional amendments were put on the ballot by state lawmakers, and none of the lengthy amendments adhered to a word limit, which experts say made the ballots so long this year.

Second, another of the bill's more controversial provisions cut down the number of early voting days.

Advocates all over the country said that cutting early voting was a bad idea, but lawmakers went through with the changes and Scott signed them into law.

However, Scott said he wasn't to blame for these problems.

"You know, I complied with the law," he said. "We had an election bill that was passed my first year in office by the Legislature. It was approved by the Justice Department. So, I complied with the law. You know, when you are a governor you have to comply with the law and that's what I did."

Scott had the ability to veto the law when it came to his desk, but he did not. He also had the power to extend early voting hours in the state, but he did not do that, either, during this past election.