On the final day of session, the Florida Legislature answered the national elections scorn the state absorbed over its long lines and tortoise pace in declaring Barack Obama its 2012 presidential winner.
Lawmakers on Friday sent Gov. Rick Scott an elections reform package that undoes some of the restrictions the Republican-controlled Legislature put in place just two years earlier — including, expanding early voting and removing barriers for mobile residents to cast regular ballots.
“Reform is never final,” said Rep. Dennis Baxley, the Ocala Republican who sponsored the 2011 reforms that have been partially unwound in the bill. “We need to remember that in the last election 62 supervisors had no problem implementing the law, but five had major problems.”
While Florida elections officials have maintained Florida wasn’t late in calling a presidential winner — the vote was just extraordinarily close, with Obama winning by 74,309 votes, or a final margin of less than 1 percent — some urban counties like Miami-Dade, Broward and Orange saw lines that stretched for hours.
“Some of us said bad things were going to happen, and we were right,” said Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg.