Gov. Rick Scott reiterated Wednesday that he has asked Florida’s chief elections official to meet with local elections supervisors to discuss what went wrong during Florida’s voting fiasco.
Sec. of State Ken Detzner is scheduled to meet with some of the state’s elections supervisors Tuesday to discuss the various problems during the election, which was plagued by long lines and a long wait for counting.
Scott stopped short of blaming HB 1355—the controversial law he signed last year that cut back early voting days—for the voting problems. He did say that changes to election laws might be necessary in the year ahead.
“This election was conducted in accordance with Florida law, which was passed by the legislature last year. The law was then found by the US Department of Justice and federal courts to be in compliance with the Voting Rights Act,” he said, skipping over the fact that part of the law was ruled unconstitutional. “But, we should now evaluate whether additional statutory changes need to be made after this election is complete. The House and Senate’s bipartisan committees on elections should begin to publicly discuss this topic at their first opportunity.”
Scott’s Wednesday statement, which largely repeats earlier statements, reflects an effort by the governor to take command of an issue that has sparked widespread backlash and media ridicule.
Initially, Scott would only say that he was happy with the record turnout and that “the right thing happened.” He also said he'd be reviewing how the election went. Many critics blamed Scott for not extending early voting when there were 8-hour lines during the shortened early voting period. Others blamed him and the Florida Legislature for passing a 2011 bill that cut early voting and loading up the ballot with lengthy amendments, while ignoring pleas from local supervisors asking for more flexibility.
As criticism has mounted—with former Gov. Charlie Crist leading a loud chorus of anti-Scott voices calling for reform—Scott has begun to pivoted from “the right thing happened” to “we need to make improvements in our elections process.”
Scott’s statement is below.