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Wednesday, Apr 25, 2018
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Pafford hammers decision to not allow early voting at UF

The House’s top Democrat-to-be is sounding off on Gov. Rick Scott’s administration’s decision to not allow the city of Gainesville to use the University of Florida’s student union as an early voting site.

“I have been deeply disappointed by the Governor’s insistence on making it harder for Florida’s bright young people to vote,” read a statement from Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach.

Pafford will become House Democratic Leader in November, succeeding Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale.

The release, sent by the Florida Democratic Party, added “we should make it easier for student … to vote.”

Secretary of State Ken Detzner, a Scott appointee, issued an opinion in early February that said the student union does not fall under the list of allowable early voting sites.

That opinion was reached even after the Legislature expanded that list in 2013 to include places like convention centers, and government-owned community centers.

Pafford has filed legislation (HB 1307) that would give local election officials latitude to select early voting sites.

The bill does not specifically address college campuses, but allows a supervisor of election to select any “suitable location” for early voting. It deletes language from state law that lays out specific locations that can host early voting.

The legislation is not likely to get any momentum. A similar proposal (SB 7086) has been filed in the Senate.