In what was perhaps the most significant exchange, Banfield asked whether Detzner regrets a Florida law rolling back the number of days when voters could cast an early ballot. Detzner was unremorseful:
BANFIELD: Look, you all decided, with a Republican legislature to cut the early voting days from 14 to 8. For whatever reason you did that, do you regret making that choice, so that all of those people who didn’t get to the polls early stuck themselves in line and wound up waiting so long that many people walked away and were disenfranchised?
DETZNER: Well, let me point out that, while the days were cut, the number of hours were not. We still maintained 96 hours of voting, and it created greater flexibility for the supervisors. Uh, for the first time ever voters could vote during the day for 12 hours during the day, and I can tell you I heard feedback from voters going into election day that they liked the opportunity to vote either in the morning before work or after work. And frankly, I think the turnout is a good representation of the fact that people liked the voting hours and the flexibility that the supervisors had.
There is something truly absurd about Detzner’s claim that the fact that people did not decide to give up their most fundamental right somehow reflects their satisfaction with a massive failure of governance. It should go without saying that when someone has to wait six hours to cast a ballot, their government failed them, and no amount of spin can defend a decision not to make more opportunities to vote available. As Florida’s former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist said last Sunday, Gov. Rick Scott’s (R-FL) refusal to extend early voting is “unconscionable” and “the only thing that makes any sense as to why this is happening and being done is voter suppression.”
Crist is almost undoubtedly correct. The Obama campaign made early voting a key prong of their turnout strategy, and many low-income voters who tend to vote Democratic are disenfranchised without early voting because they lack the job flexibility to cast a ballot on election day.