There’s only one day left for early voting in the battleground state of Florida, and the Miami Herald is calling it a “nightmare.” With long lines, packed parking lots, and up to a four-hour wait in some places, Republican Governor Rick Scott is refusing to extend early voting.
Florida’s previous governor, Republican-turned-Independent Charlie Crist is speaking out against Scott for suppressing voters. After seeing the torturous lines in the 2008 election, then-Governor Crist, as a Republican, alleviated the problem by extending early voting.
On Friday’s PoliticsNation, Crist told Rev. Al Sharpton why Scott should do the same:
“It would be the right thing to do. It’s right to make sure that we encourage democracy and people’s opportunity to vote. It is a precious, cherished right that all of us ought to have the opportunity to exercise. Yesterday I was in Miami Gardens in North Dade County and Aventura where the wait was two and a half to three hours long. It’s unconscionable to let that go on. The people of Florida deserve better and they deserve a chance to vote.”
Lines to enter polling stations are estimated at four hours in West Dade, and around three hours in North Miami and Miami Beach. Once inside, it has generally been taking Florida voters an hour to wade through the 10 page ballot, which contains 11 amendments. So why not extend the hours?
“The only thing that makes sense is if you want to suppress the vote of people who they think might vote for President Obama,” Crist said. “One of the other things they did is they took out Sunday voting, the Sunday before the Tuesday of Election Day. There’s a tradition in the African-American community to go out after church and vote, so we did it last Sunday with ‘Souls to the Polls.’”
Gov. Scott has yet to explain his decision not to extend early voting, but Mike Grissom, executive director of Florida’s Republican Party, told the Associated Press it’s not right “for one side to demand that we break the law because they feel like they are losing.”
Joy-Ann Reid, MSNBC contributor and managing editor of The Grio.com, told Rachel Maddow that Crist’s executive order in 2008 sealed his fate with the GOP because Republicans were realizing that extending voting deadlines was allowing more Democrats, especially African-Americans, the opportunity to cast a ballot.
“That was the beginning of the end of Charlie Crist’s tenure in the Republican Party, the beginning of the rupture with his party because Republicans in the state blamed Crist for Barack Obama winning the state,” Reid said.