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Scott backs increased early voting, shorter ballots

Posted Jan 17, 2013 by William March

Updated Jan 17, 2013 at 06:31 PM

Gov. Rick Scott announced Thursday that he favors three top election law reforms demanded by Democrats in the wake of the state’s problem-plagued 2012 election – more early voting days including “Souls to the Polls” Sunday, more early voting sites and shorter ballots.

The move completes a reversal by Scott, who signed the 2011 election bill that Democrats blame for the problems and who defended the state election process in the aftermath of the 2012 voting.

He now advocates overturning some of the bill’s key measures, which critics say were aimed at suppressing minority and Democratic votes.

“Our ultimate goal must be to restore Floridians’ confidence in our election system,” Scott said in a written statement. “I look forward to working with the Legislature on a bi-partisan bill to implement these reforms this session.”

Florida Democrats called it an election-year conversion by Scott.

State party Chairman Rod Smith said Scott “continues to lead from behind ... Heading into an election year, Scott is attempting to distance himself from his actions which have hurt Florida voters and underscored that he simply can’t be trusted.”

But House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, praised Scott for “leading and listening to citizens and election officials at all levels,” and “developing realistic solutions to fix a serious problem.”