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Crist says he'll meet with UF students over state's rejection of campus center as early voting site

Criticizing the state's decision to block the University of Florida's student union as an early voting site, Charlie Crist posted a Facebook notice Friday stating he'll meet with students and voters at 12:45 p.m. Wednesday at Turlington Plaza to discuss the issue. 

The posting follows a tweet from the Democratic candidate at 6:15 p.m. Thursday:  "This is an outrage," Crist tweeted. "Stay tuned on how we can protest Rick Scott's awful insult to every student & voter in the state."

To address complaints of long waits at polling sites in 2012 that attracted national attention, legislators last year expanded the list of early voting sites to include fairgrounds, civic centers, courthouses, county commission buildings, stadiums, convention centers and government-owned community centers.

In response to a request by the city of Gainesville to use the Reitz Union for early voting in March's municipal elections, Maria Matthews, director of the state Division of Elections, which is run by a Scott appointee, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, wrote in an advisory opinion that "the terms 'convention center' and 'government-owned community center' cannot be construed so broadly as to include the Reitz Union."

Crist joins the growing number of critics blasting the state's decision, including the League of Women Voters, election supervisors and Democratic legislators.

In a statement Friday, House Minority Leader Perry Thurston (D-Fort Lauderdale) said  “Governor Scott and state elections officials seem once again to be trying to suppress the vote of university students and other Floridians. I urge him to stop laying roadblocks to voting. The governor should do more to encourage, not discourage, voting among young people who are interested and engaged citizens.”

And in a letter sent Friday to Detzner, Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth,  wrote:

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I write you to express my concern with a misinterpretation of statute from a bill that passed through the Florida Legislature last session, as it relates to voting at community centers.

 The bill we passed, which later was signed into law by the Governor, was very clear in stating that a “government-owned community center” is an acceptable location for early voting. It is somewhat inconceivable to me that we have somehow misinterpreted that direction.

The Reitz Union is government-owned, as the University of Florida is a public institution founded and funded by the state of Florida. The Reitz Union is also a community center, obviously.

There is no ambiguity in the statute, nor is there any in the public nature or purpose of the Reitz Union. The statute is crystal clear, straightforward and with no room for misinterpretation.

As a member of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee that formulated this bill, I ask that you immediately re-evaluate your unlawful decision to not allow voting at the Reitz Union and comply with law, which states that this public community center is unquestionably an allowable site for early voting.

Please respond as soon as possible. 

Comments

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FLMom

Call Rick Scott to let him know that you are not going to let him get away with this latest attempt to keep students from voting. Call 850-488-7146 today. Voting is a right.

An early voter

Give em hell Charlie!

Tell the whole story

Meanwhile, the Miami Herald is fully on board with the Crist campaign and that means ignoring he was paid for judicial appointments as governor.


http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/feb/6/ex-fundraisers-testimony-rocks-crists-florida-camp/

Hmmmm

It was reported in another posting that the legislature considered allowing early voting at educational facilities and actually voted that proposal down.

If that is the case, legislative intent would suggest that this was not meant to be allowed by the legislature.

Gator alumna

to play devil's advocate...parking is NOT easy at that location, and the elections officials have to make decisions for all voters, not just students or senior citizens, etc. If you are not already on campus, getting to the JWRU in the middle of the day isn't that easy. It's in the middle of campus, and there are limited pay parking spaces available in the garage.

Bill Thompson

One wonders why the majority of the legislature would vote down allowing early voting at universities. What is the reasoning?

If a person has a car, they have the ability to go to any early voting site in the county to vote.

Ed Jenkins

As the readers have commented voting precincts in distant places are of no relevance to them and a second article on this irrelevant administrative manner is an example of why subscriptions to this hometown paper continue to fall. Furthermore readers do not spend time months in years in front of elections thinking about voting precincts, it is simply thought about on election day when one has to find the location and they require no other information about this minor administrative matter. The readers recommend removing this Koff from the Herald staff if irrelevant articles continue to be produced.

Gator alumna

Orange County and Seminole County use the public libraries for early voting, and I think a lot of other counties do too.

It's a good solution. Lots of free parking and they're usually in same location for decades so people know where to find them. When was the last time you saw your public library parking lot completely full? (Sad but true, but that's another issue - go read books, people! Expand your mind!) Anyway, overall the libraries seem to me to be more accessible to more people.

Libraries are also able to host early voting without significantly disrupting their operations. Churches are often used for regular voting days, but that only works because elections are on Tuesdays, not the weekend times that early voting is happening. And seriously, go try to find parking on a college campus sometime during the week or a football game weekend. It's not fun.

Let the Students Vote

Ed Jenkins-scanning your comment-what points are you actually making? You make a circular argument that goes nowhere.

You can't ignore the political element here-the student union is an effective site for early voting on campus, which is a large source of Democratic votes.

Moreover, the student union fits perfectly under the statutory categories as noted in Gov. Crist's response.

With the history of this administration in regards to access to the polls, it seems pretty clear what the motivation of this change was. The Governor is down in the polls and needs all of the help he can get to keep Democratic voters home.

I hope this gets resolved, but it seems like all Gov. Scott is doing is wasting state resources to defend an unenforceable decision.

Ed Jenkins

There are some who do not understand what the purpose of a hometown paper is including the editors of this hometown paper who have seen circulation drop dramatically under their watch. Voting precincts and other issues in distant places fall under the irrelevant matters for hometown paper subscribers. Since this democrat primary voter is sometimes not the best at explaining things I will turn it over to comments on this matter by Warren Buffett, a business partner of mine:

"Newspapers continue to reign supreme, however, in the delivery of local news. If you want to know what’s going on in your town – whether the news is about the mayor or taxes or high school football – there is no substitute for a local newspaper that is doing its job. A reader’s eyes may glaze over after they take in a couple of paragraphs about Canadian tariffs or political developments in Pakistan; a story about the reader himself or his neighbors will be read to the end. Wherever there is a pervasive sense of community, a paper that serves the special informational needs of that community will remain indispensable to a significant portion of its residents."

Warren Buffet

I did not sanction or in any way authorize Ed Jenkins to use my name in vain.

Democracy

How many UF students and alumni live in Miami alone?

Jenkins is out of fingers and toes to count with so he has no idea.

Hmmmm

Good point on parking Gator alumna - same goes at FSU.

FAU and FIU - plenty of parking though. Not sure about UCF and USF.

Ed Jenkins

The readers would recommend that those from other towns read their hometown newspapers for items pertaining to them and this democrat primary voter has taken the time to assist them since their hometown appears to be Gainesville they should look find out about news in their town in the Gainesville Sun which should be a great source of information for these Gainesville residents. The readers however have no interest in any further articles about distant places and recommend the editors put a stop to this practice if they want to prevent the yearly subscriber declines. As has been noted the advice of a business partner of this democrat primary voter named Warren Buffett who owns many newspapers should be headed:

"Newspapers continue to reign supreme, however, in the delivery of local news. If you want to know what’s going on in your town – whether the news is about the mayor or taxes or high school football – there is no substitute for a local newspaper that is doing its job. A reader’s eyes may glaze over after they take in a couple of paragraphs about Canadian tariffs or political developments in Pakistan; a story about the reader himself or his neighbors will be read to the end. Wherever there is a pervasive sense of community, a paper that serves the special informational needs of that community will remain indispensable to a significant portion of its residents."

Warren Buffet

Ed Jenkins my lawyers will be serving you shortly with a cease & desist order.

SJ

Can someone point out that the proposal was for the Reitz to just be ONE location for early voting in Alachua? There's still two other locations if parking would be such an issue (considering this proposal is really for the thousands of students in Alachua).

Ed jenkins vacationing brain..

From : https://www.union.ufl.edu
The J. Wayne Reitz Union is the “community center” of the University of Florida, providing facilities, services, and programs designed to enhance the campus life experience for students and other members of the campus community. The union offers a wide variety of activities, programs, and services including, but not limited to social and educational events for students, meeting and event facilities (for students, faculty, and staff), student organization offices and work spaces, dining venues, retail shops, offices, lounges, game room, and leadership and citizenship opportunities for students. The high traffic 350,000 square feet facility is located near the center of campus and is co-located with the Bookstore/Welcome Center/Parking Garage complex.
Gosh who couldnt agree with DOS logic that this is not a government owned community center.....

matthew macik

adrain wyllie libertaian candidate for florida governor

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