Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a semi-daily basis we scan Florida's major daily newspapers for significant Florida political news and punditry. We also review the editorial pages and political columnists/pundits for Florida political commentary. The papers we review include: the Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Naples News, Sarasota Herald Tribune, St Pete Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Tallahassee Democrat, and, occasionally, the Florida Times Union; we also review the political news blogs associated with these newspapers.

For each story, column, article or editorial we deem significant, we post at least the headline and link to the piece; the linked headline always appears in quotes. We quote the headline for two reasons: first, to allow researchers looking for the cited piece to find it (if the link has expired) by searching for the original title/headline via a commercial research service. Second, quotation of the original headline permits readers to appreciate the spin from the original piece, as opposed to our spin.

Not that we don't provide spin; we do, and plenty of it. Our perspective appears in post headlines, the subtitles within the post (in bold), and the excerpts from the linked stories we select to quote; we also occasionally provide other links and commentary about certain stories. While our bias should be immediately apparent to any reader, we nevertheless attempt to link to every article, column or editorial about Florida politics in every major online Florida newspaper.


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The Blog for Monday, July 21, 2008

"Get ready ..."

    "The old lever machines are long gone. We all know what happened with the punch cards and hanging chads. And now the touch-screen machines are relics, too. Get ready for optical-scan voting." "Voting Is Safer, On Paper".

    The Daytona Beach News-Journal editorial board: "In less than six weeks, voters in 15 counties -- including some of Florida's largest -- will use optical-scan machines for the first time in the statewide primary. Two months later, Florida voters go to the polls to cast their votes for president. Some supervisors are already predicting long lines as voters wait to feed their ballots into scanners. They worry that elderly voters won't be able to see the print on the ballots, and that inadequately trained poll workers will give voters bad advice.
    The only foolproof way to detect election-tampering is with hand recounts of randomly selected precincts. Unfortunately, Florida law doesn't set the bar high enough for post-election security. Elections officials in each county are mandated to recount only one (randomly selected) race, and recount only 1 percent to 2 percent of precincts. Such a recount could catch a machine malfunction, but the chances of picking a race high-profile enough to be of interest to hackers is slim. And the audits won't take place until after results are certified, setting the stage for another high-profile court battle if problems turn up.

    Meanwhile, legislators significantly narrowed the scope of hand recounts in very close races, where the top two vote-getters are separated by less than one-quarter of one percent. Elections officials are now only allowed to hand-tally overvotes (where voters appear to have marked votes for more than one candidate in a race) and undervotes (where voters apparently skipped voting in that race). All other ballots cast in that race would be counted by machine, an imperfect solution at best.

    In any election, determining voter intent should be the primary goal. But lawmakers failed to require adequate safeguards -- leaving elections officials to cross their fingers and hope this state doesn't see another lengthy, mortifying voting scandal.
    "Paper rules". See also "Manual recounts out in close elections".

    Another fine growth industry

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board:

    Prisons are expanding faster than schools in Florida, and Department of Corrections Secretary Walt McNeil is offering a compelling strategy for reducing the cost. He would build smaller, less elaborate prisons closer to home for short-term nonviolent offenders. His approach could help lawmakers restore some semblance of budgetary balance, and it is worth serious consideration.
    "A plan to cut prison cost".

    Write-in scam

    The Tampa Tribune editorial board: "When write-in candidates manipulate the election process by slamming precinct doors on voters, as they've done to 280,000 people in Pasco and Hillsborough counties this election season, it's time to fight back. And it's simple to do: Become a member of the party whose primary would have been open to all voters if not for shams by write-ins, who don't even have to follow normal qualifying procedures. You can always switch back after the election." "Voters Can Strike Back Against Abuses By Write-In Candidates".

    "Unlikely to work"

    "Cover Florida, the health-insurance policy touted by Gov. Charlie Crist and passed by the Legislature in May as a way to reduce the state's 3.7 million uninsured, is unlikely to work, according to a report this month by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonprofit policy-research group in Washington, D.C." "Cover Florida health insurance appears to come up short".


    "Florida's top banking regulator is under fire after a newspaper investigation exposed that thousands of convicted criminals were licensed as mortgage brokers during the state's recent real estate boom."

    The Miami Herald reported Sunday that more than 10,000 mortgage brokers with criminal records were licensed by the state between 2000 and 2007. And more than 4,000 of that number cleared background checks despite committing crimes — like fraud, racketeering and extortion — that state regulators are supposed to flag and not license.
    "State mortgage regulator should quit, Florida's CFO Alex Sink says".

    Too bad

    "Democrat [sic] Joe Lieberman, campaigning among Jewish voters in South Florida for fellow senator John McCain, said today he won't be the Republican presidential candidate's running mate." "Lieberman says he won't be McCain's running mate".

    More: "Stumping for McCain, Lieberman says Democrats have 'changed dramatically'".


    The Orlando Sentinel editorial board: "Restoring civil rights for nonviolent ex-offenders now depends on restitution -- their court-ordered payments to crime victims -- which mucks things up for ex-convicts as well as victims."

    More than 30 percent of ex-offenders were recently ruled ineligible for the restoration of their civil rights such as voting and serving on a jury. Why? They hadn't made good on restitution obligations. Yet Florida is shutting them out of jobs that require occupational and business licenses, such as a roofer, a cosmetologist or a nurse.
    "Restoring civil rights for ex-felons shouldn't be linked to jobs, restitution".

    "Pocketbook concerns"

    "At a time when Floridians have their pick of pocketbook concerns, from record gasoline prices to lack of health care, one issue remains a high priority: property insurance." "Fed up with insurers, Florida voters may take anger to polls".

    "Washed away ..."

    The Palm Beach Post editorial Board: "Cities and counties in Florida have approved untold millions in spending that they knew literally would be washed away. For the first time, a court will hear arguments about whether that's a good idea." "Restoring the beaches, but harming the seas?".

    Water war

    "Florida to Georgia: Water war not just about mussels".


    "Crist, however, has yet to offer specific fixes." "Crist eyes loopholes in DROPs retirement program".

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