Voters cast ballots in the presidential election at Carleton Middle School on Nov. 6, 2012.(Photo: Bill Pugliano, Getty Images)
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- State lawmakers are closing in on the final version of a bill that aims to fix the problems that plagued the election last November.
But critics say it doesn't go far enough.
The legislation requires at least eight days of early voting with eight hours of voting each day. But supervisors of elections will have the option to extend early voting up to 14 days with polls open up to 12 hours a day.
Opponents want the bill to mandate 14 days of early voting, including the last Sunday before Election Day.
Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, said the bill has been improved in recent weeks, but she's not sure if it will fix the long lines that discouraged so many voters last year.
"No one should have to take a half day off of work to go vote. The lines were ridiculous, too long. Moms couldn't wait in line because they had to go pick up kids from school and working moms couldn't do it, they couldn't spend the time that it took to stand in line and vote. It's completely unfair and uncalled for."
Cruz had pushed for a mandatory 14 days of early voting and mandatory early voting on the Sunday before Election Day.
"We didn't get that. So it's better, but it's not a perfect bill. I'm not even sure I'll say it's a good bill, but I'll say it's better than it was."
Cruz said she will try to amend the bill when it comes up for a final vote in the House to limit the number of words in constitutional amendments from the Legislature. Right now, the bill caps the length of explanations in first versions, but allows revisions to include an unlimited number of words.
The Senate has already passed the bill and is waiting for the House to take a final vote.
First Coast News