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Get rid of Election Day, election chiefs say
Florida's election supervisors, impressed by the success of early voting, proposed dramatic reforms Tuesday that would eliminate Election Day, replace it with an 11-day election season and do away with precincts.
The association of the state's 67 chief elections officials voted in concept at its annual winter meeting in Orlando to informally present the idea to the Legislature and to start rallying support for what its members concede would be a sea change in how Floridians vote.
''I think the voters spoke loud and clear in the general election of 2004 that they want other options than to be limited to 12 hours on a Tuesday to vote,'' said Bill Cowles, Orange County supervisor of elections and president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections. ``We should seize upon the opportunity in 2005 to make the changes so we can try it in 2006.''
This past election season marked the first time that Florida used early voting across the state and it was a proven success, as some voters waited in line for hours in order to cast their ballot ahead of Election Day.
Election supervisors say the experience showed them they could move away from the traditional Election Day and a precinct structure many believe is outdated. Instead of hundreds of precincts in a county, for example, voters could go to any of a few super-voting sites equipped with enough machines and personnel to keep lines at a minimum.