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PolitiFact Florida: Fact-checking Don Gaetz, Rick Scott and 'Pink Slip Rick' on early voting

The Truth-O-Meter went to work this week examining claims about Florida's early voting program.

Senate President Don Gaetz recently said the 2011 elections law, which cut early voting days from 14 to eight, would have been worse without him fighting to add more hours.

"I sponsored the amendment that expanded the hours of early voting so that people who have irregular work schedules could vote," Gaetz said in a Jan. 11 editorial board interview with the Orlando Sentinel. "And I said if that amendment didn't pass, I would join the Democrats in resisting the proposal to limit the number of days of early voting."

Gaetz is right about sponsoring the amendment, but he's leaving out the fact that his amendment docked the minimum number of hours that a supervisor had to offer for early voting by half. His claim is Half True.

Gov. Rick Scott, who signed the 2011 elections law that cut early voting, reversed course when he called on the Legislature to allow supervisors to offer up to 14 days of early voting again. In an interview, he said the proposal would allow for "a potential of 168 hours (of early voting), which I think is the most we've ever had."

Meanwhile, the liberal Pink Slip Rick campaign tweeted a more pessimistic take on his proposal, saying it only "mandates 48 hours of early voting."

With such different reactions, who's right? Both sides are basically correct but cherry-pick the scenario that fits their message. Scott focused on the highest number of available hours (12 hours a day X 14 days = 168 hours), while Pink Slip Rick went with the minimum (6 hours a day X 8 days = 48).

We rated Scott's comment True, as he was careful with his words about the "potential" record. Pink Slip Rick's remark, while accurate, earned a Mostly True rating because it ignored the fact that supervisors would be able to offer more than three times that amount. 

  • See also: In his first time facing the Truth-O-Meter, newly elected U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, earned a True from PolitiFact for saying the tax penalty that the government imposes if you don't buy health insurance "is lower than it would have cost to buy insurance."
  • Scott says Florida's fourth graders are the world's second-best readers, behind Singapore. Mostly True.
  • Sen. Marco Rubio says the United States has "an immigration system where only 6.5 percent of people who come here, come here based on labor and skill." Mostly True.

Got an idea for a fact-check? Email it to politifact.florida@gmail.com or tweet us @PolitiFactFL.

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