New Florida Law Brings Shorter Lines But Same Amount of Early Voters

Aug 25, 2014

Early voting turnout was about the same as during the last primary election, despite what election supervisors call a smoother process.
Credit Erik Hersman via Flickr

Florida elections officials are seeing shorter early-voting lines at the polls this year and attribute it to a 2013 law giving local offices more say in early voting hours and locations. But election supervisors say the added convenience hasn't drawn more people to the polls so far this primary.

Florida lawmakers changed voting laws last year after negative headlines about long lines at the polls during the 2012 election.

Duval County Elections Supervisor Jerry Holland says lines are shorter this year.

“It probably made it more convenient, because they were closer to people’s residences by having so many sites," he says, "but it has not affected the overall turnout."

Holland says because of this year’s shortened ballot and familiar candidates, the primaries have not been enough to judge the total impact of the early voting changes. However, he expects the longer early voting period to increase turnout in November, along with other factors.

“I think it will be greater in the general election. I think the referendums that are on the ballot in the general election as well as in the governor’s race are going to be something that draws the voters out,” Holland says.

The 2013 law added early voting days and expanded the types of sites that could be used as early voting polling places.