Elections bill set to pass as Weatherford, Latvala work towards compromise

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Lawmakers working on an elections bill meant to repair the snafus that plagued the 2012 vote say the bill is set to pass the House once a provision for the punishment of elections supervisors is softened.

House Speaker Will Weatherford said a bipartisan pair of lawmakers are working with Senate Ethics and Elections Chairman Jack Latvala to strike a compromise that could get the bill through the House.

The legislation (HB 7013), which would allow supervisors to expand early voting days and sites and limit the length of some ballot summaries for constitutional amendments, passed the House with an overwhelming bipartisan majority on the first day of the session but was more divisive in the Senate. But House members are cautious about a measure that would allow the secretary of state to deem a supervisor to be in “noncompliant status,” potentially costing the official $2,000 in pay immediately and eventually leading to suspension by the governor and potential removal.

“It’s one thing if you’re an appointed elections supervisor,” Weatherford said. “I think you may see some language in the House that reflects that. But as far as an elected supervisor, and having the ability to punish them from the secretary of state’s office, I don’t think the Florida House likes that position. I would imagine that will probably come out of the bill.”

Language dealing with the state’s lone appointed supervisor, in Miami-Dade County, could appease Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, the Miami Republican who has pushed finding more ways to punish underperforming supervisors.

Latvala said Thursday he didn’t anticipate any problem getting the bill to final passage.

Via the News Service of Florida.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.