ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ Advocacy groups called Tuesday on Gov. Rick Scott and lawmakers to appoint a task force to review Florida's election, which was plagued by long lines at precincts and a four-day delay in determining which presidential contender won its 29 electoral votes.
Members of the League of Women Voters, the NAACP and AARP said Tuesday that the task force should offer recommendations to lawmakers before the start of the next year's legislative session.
“What happened last week in Florida must never happen again,'' said Deirdre Macnab, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, speaking at an Orlando news conference.
The groups say election problems include budget cuts to the state's election supervisors, a reduction in early-voting days, a record-long ballot and lines of up to six hours at some precincts. The advocates say the problems have made Florida a national punch-line for late-night comics.
A similar task force was created after election problems surfaced in Florida in 2000.
Incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford is creating a House committee to deal with elections and ethics legislation. He said it will be responsible for gathering facts, talking to the public and getting feedback from supervisors of elections and past supervisors such as former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and former Secretary of State Kurt Browning.
“It's not a good thing when it's Friday, three days after the election, and every state in the country is either red or blue and there's one of them that's yellow because they haven't counted the votes yet and decided where the 29 electoral votes are going,'' Weatherford said Tuesday. “I think that's something that we should to be embarrassed by and something we should make sure going forward doesn't happen again.''
President Barack Obama was declared the winner of Florida's 29 electoral votes Saturday, ending a four-day count with a razor-thin margin that narrowly avoided an automatic recount that would have revived memories of 2000.
Weatherford said he supports the idea of an independent task force in addition to his legislative committee.
“I think the more people that are making suggestions and offering us thoughts is a good thing,'' he said.