Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed a law cutting early voting days in what was widely viewed as an effort to frustrate voters who tend to vote both early and Democratic from casting a ballot. Indeed, in the wake of the six hour voting lines created by Rick Scott’s law, several Republicans openly admitted that the goal of Scott’s changes to Florida voting law was to prevent Democrats — and, in particular, African-American Democrats — from casting a vote.
Immediately after election day, Scott was unapologetic for the lines his policy caused, claiming that he “did the right thing” by standing against early voting. Since then, his polling numbers have cratered, with 52 percent of Floridians saying he does not deserve a second term. So Scott decided to hum a different tune in an interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien this morning — suggesting that the long lines were somehow someone else’s fault:
SCOTT: We got to go back and look at the number of days of early voting we have.
O’BRIEN: There’s some people who said you could have extended early voting. I mean, I guess I’m asking how much of blame do you hold in this — do you hold yourself accountable for? Because there are people who blamed you, very vociferously frankly, for not extending early voting . . . .
SCOTT: Well Soledad, you know, I complied with the law. We had an election bill that was passed, um, my first year in office by the legislature. It was approved by the Justice Department. So I complied with the law.
Of course, the anti-voting law that Scott supposedly “complied” with was not simply passed by the Florida legislature. It was also signed into law — by Rick Scott! If Scott objected to suppressing the early vote, he could have demonstrated that fact by vetoing this law instead.
Later in the interview, Scott admits that “we do need change,” and he calls for a “bipartisan” plan to restore confidence in his state’s elections. If he is serious about this, State Sens. Arthenia Joyner (D-FL) and Gwen Margolis (D-FL) already have a bill he can endorse. Their bill would reinstate two full weeks of early voting days and would require 12 hours of early voting per weekday and 12 hours total on weekends.