TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida’s election troubles last November are prompting state lawmakers to consider changing the state’s election laws this spring, but critics say the current proposals don’t go far enough.
On Thursday, a group of African-American leaders accused Republican state leaders of enacting election changes in 2011 that deliberately tried to keep certain voters from casting ballots.
They said the reforms caused long lines at polling places and made it harder for people to vote.
Now the Legislature is moving to undo some of those changes. The main election reform bills currently under consideration would restore 14 days of early voting, limit ballot summaries from the Legislature and allow counties to open more early voting sites.
Phelicia Stiell of the National Congress of Black Women also wants lawmakers to restore the final Sunday before Election Day in early voting. That day became a popular way for African-American voters to vote before it was eliminated in 2011.
"One of the things that we firmly believe is that an additional day, the normal day for people of faith going to the polls needs to be reinstated and that’s the Sunday before the election."
She also says Florida’s election system is broken when long lines might prevent people from voting. "We have a process where a 102-year-old lady had to stand in line for up to six hours simply because she wanted to vote."
Members of the group also want lawmakers to allow voters to update their registration on Election Day if they have moved across county lines. The Legislature banned that practice in 2011.
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A mother and daughter were rescued from a house fire in the Citrus Park area of Tampa on Saturday afternoon.