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Fla. House Passes Election Overhaul Bill

The Florida state House passes the GOP plan to overhaul state election laws. It could have a big impact on who wins in 2012 and beyond.

In a fiery debate, democrats lashed out at what they call a politically-driven attempt to prevent people from voting, but the republican majority won the day passing their controversial election bill,

To hear it from them, the legislation will crack down on voter fraud. It would eliminate the ability to change your address at the polls and still cast a legal ballot.

That's key, because many college students are registered back home but can vote near campus by updating their registration on the spot.

Republicans argue they're worried about people being able to vote twice.

“Voting early and voting often might be OK in Chicago, but let's vote yes on this bill and say that that kind of thing,” said Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Orlando. “We will do everything that we can do to stop it here in the state of Florida.”

Democrats argue it's no coincidence college voter turnout overwhelmingly benefits democratic candidates.

Meanwhile, the bill also puts new restrictions on voter registration drive workers, who in 2008 were instrumental in registering around a half-million new voters here in Florida.

“15 percent, 20 percent - these are typical voter turnout,” said Rep. Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg. “Instead of making it easier to vote, to increase voter participation, this bill does the opposite.”

The Senate version of the bill would cut the early voting period in half. Democrats contend early voting is one more advantage they have that republicans are attempting to wipe out.

The legislation would allow voters who go to a different polling place in the same county change their address in person.


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