This is rich: Former state Sen. Mike Bennett now wants early voting

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Former Sen. Mike Bennett, now the newly elected supervisor of elections in Manatee County, has done an about-face on how much access to early voting people should have.

The Bradenton Herald via the News Service of Florida reported Thursday that Bennett, who was one of the most outspoken advocates in the Legislature for making it harder to vote, now wants to make it easier and is suggesting more early voting days.

Bennett, who will officially become elections supervisor on Jan. 6, said last year that voting should be hard and that with people in some places willing walk 200 miles to vote – Americans should value the ability to cast a ballot. “This should not be easy,” Bennett, a Republican, said at the time while arguing for cutting the number of early voting days from 14 to 8, a measure that passed. But Bennett told the Herald that he now would like to see the number of early voting days returned to 14, and also wants supervisors to have more flexibility in determining early voting sites.

Bennett drew angry responses from those who consider voting a right when he said in 2011 that it was instead a :hard-fought privilege” and shouldn’t be made convenient. “How much more convenient do you want to make it? Do we want to go to their house? Take the polling booth with us?” he said at the time. Bennett, who left the Legislature because of term limits, was elected to replace Bob Sweat, who retired after nearly three decades.

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.