Crist extends early voting hours

10/28/08 Mitch E. Perry
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With record turnout in early voting through the first week, Gov. Charlie Crist today signed an executive order extending the hours at early voting sites thoughout the state.

Last week, the entire Florida Congressional delegation wrote to Crist, requesting that he extend early voting hours. That letter came after reports of voters waiting as long as four hours in line. On Tuesday, Crist wasn't willing to make the call.

Nearly 2 million people in Florida have already cast ballots ahead of the Nov. 4 election, amounting to 20 percent of the total eligible voter pool. More than half have been registered Democrats. Some Democrats, like outgoing House Minority Leader Dan Gelber, had criticized Republicans for passing a law which limited the amount of hours that early voting could be made accessible.

Crist said today that he consulted with Gelber before making his announcement.

Meanwhile, according to a national poll released today by the Pew Research Center, Barack Obama is leading John McCain 54 percent to 34 percent among those who have already voted.

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Absentee Ballot Advantages

When I dropped my hard-copy, pre-approved, no-problem absentee ballot yesterday, I walked by a long line of people waiting to vcte. I wonder if most people will vote absentee in the future. Special measures could deal with special circumstances, like on the spot registrations and voting the same time during the early voting period. Shared state databases could help with verification of eligibility. No ones vote would be re- arranged or disappear into cyberspace. People would know which of their signatures they should use. Re-countability would be more insured.