TALLAHASSEE — A new report by the nonpartisan Pew Charitable Trusts says states generally fared better in 2012 than previously in their handling of elections and voting. But the report singled out Florida as an exception, concluding that wait times for voters increased by 16 minutes, when elsewhere in the United States, wait times decreased by three minutes.
Pew’s main conclusion: “Florida is neither a high- nor low-performing state, and though its overall EPI (Elections Performance Index) score increased slightly between 2008 and 2012, the boost was less than the average improvement across the country. Florida was held back to a large degree by dramatic spikes in average wait time to vote and rejected registrations.”
Gov. Rick Scott’s chief elections official, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, immediately debunked the report’s findings, noting that the Legislature passed a series of changes to the election laws in the 2013 session that addressed many of Pew’s findings. How effectively those changes improved things won’t definitively be known until this fall, when Florida has statewide primary and general elections.
The full text of Detzner’s statement:
“The previous practices reviewed in the report no longer reflect today’s voting laws because of last year’s reforms and we will continue to work with Pew as they develop their next report. This 2012 report validates the actions we took in working with supervisors of elections and the Legislature last year that created an historic amount of early voting locations and more voting hours than ever before. We addressed many of the topic areas assessed in the report with HB 7013, which expanded voter access and transparency.”