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Changes to the Florida Election Law

The St. Petersburg Times article, State seizes primary position, covers some election law changes that were just passed by the Florida legislature and sent to Governor Crist for his signature [it’s his bill, so he will sign it]:

The State primary is moved to January 29th which is a problem –

The national parties are promising to punish any state that breaks the party rules, as Florida has, by scheduling a primary before Feb. 5, 2008. Both parties will lose half the delegates to the national convention, and the Democratic Party has said any candidate who campaigns in a state violating the schedule will forfeit all delegates won in that state.

Florida will require paper ballots throughout the state [because everything else has just been embarrassing].

The bill contained a number of other provisions. Among them:

  • Outside groups registering voters would face fines for failing to quickly turn in forms to elections offices.
  • Filing complaints with the Florida Elections Commission will be harder because only people with firsthand knowledge of a problem may file a complaint.
  • People who sign petitions will have 120 days after the signatures are submitted to an elections office to remove their names.
  • Elected officials will no longer have to resign from office to run for federal office. In other words, a presidential candidate could tap Gov. Crist as his vice presidential candidate and Crist would not have to resign as governor.

If you wander over to the SPT Home Page be sure to take their poll:

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4 comments

1 Steve Bates { 05.04.07 at 1:38 pm }

Last things first: by what authority can the Florida Senate declare a “national day of” anything whatsoever? Why, just to be ornery and to make a point, I might decide not to pray on that day!

The business of states jockeying for primary primacy is a puzzle to which I can see only one obvious solution, and I don’t like that solution very much. For the last very many presidential elections, Texas primary voters have had zero influence on the choice of at least the Democratic Party’s candidate, because it’s a done deal already. That’s not right. But absent a federal standard primary date, it’s also wrong to allow the parties to penalize states for seeking advantage.

In your case, of course, primaries don’t matter anyway… didn’t your GOP-run Lege a few years back threaten to assert a constitutional right to ignore the popular vote in the November election and send its own slate of electors anyway? Now that, as Jon Stewart said in the subtitle of America the Book, is “democracy inaction”!

Volunteer deputy voter registrars in Texas (or at least in Harris County) have by law just a few days to return completed registrations directly to a voter registrar’s office. Most groups I know have a person whose job it is to collect the registrations from the field team and take them to the office the same day or the next day, where receipts are provided. The registration forms themselves are bound, pre-numbered and in triplicate… one copy for the real registrar, one for the applicant and one for the volunteer. (Stella and I can claim some credit for raising the fuss a few years ago that was one influence resulting in this tighter system.)

2 Bryan { 05.04.07 at 3:10 pm }

They are Republicans – they constantly overstep their authority. They don’t actually have a right to call for a state day of prayer, but that’s another constitutional quirk that was slapped in to annoy Catholics.

My attitude is that if parties want to specify when a primary is to be held, let them pay for the election. The man who pays the piper calls the tune. Florida is like Texas, a big state with no input in the process, but we have always run local elections on primary day, so this changes more than the presidential selection process.

Yep, in 2000, the Reps threatened to call themselves back into session to select electors if the re-count was allowed to continue. Just another brick missing from the full-load that constitutes sanity.

No one knows why the registration thing is in there, it’s probably part of the “anti voter fraud campaign” that wastes time and money. Most people register through the DMV.

3 Steve Bates { 05.04.07 at 5:31 pm }

Ooooh, I like the notion of someone’s paying the piper! And I have no problem with their calling tunes. Actually, it’s been a while since I’ve earned money in the role of piper… pennywhistle or fife or one-keyed flute or recorder, not bagpipes… but it certainly was fun.

The issue of election funding is sure to come up here after this city election: the law requires that the position be filled now, but that race and one proposition are the only things on the ballot. GOPers will be screaming about the waste of money, but hey, I don’t see them ceding the council seat to Melissa Noriega, the front-running Democrat in the race. 🙂

4 Bryan { 05.04.07 at 5:51 pm }

Yep, it all depends on who can get elected as to whether it’s considered a waste of money.