First look at House’s election reform bill

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A measure that would allow elections supervisors to hold more days of early voting, provide more sites for casting pre-Election Day votes and curb the length of ballot summaries for constitutional amendments proposed by the Legislature is set to be heard Wednesday by the House Ethics and Elections Subcommittee.

The proposal (PCB EES 13-01), released ahead of next week’s meeting, would provide up to 14 days of early voting in each county, though only eight would be required; elections supervisors could allow early voting up to five days before it currently begins and on the Sunday before an election, when many black churches hold “souls to the polls” voting drives. It would also loosen rules on where early voting could take place. And it would limit the first proposed ballot summary of any amendment proposed by the Legislature to 75 words, the same cap faced by citizen initiatives. Lawmakers would be allowed to break that cap on additional summaries if they attach those to the bill as fallback options in case a court strikes down the first proposed summary. The attorney general would also not be limited if he or she has to redraft the ballot summary after a successful court challenge to the language that voters read when they decide whether to approve the amendment.

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.