Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who served as a Republican, blasted the GOP on Wednesday over the state's new voting laws.
"Florida, which four years earlier was a model for efficiency, became once again a late-night TV joke," Christ said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
"Voters who wanted to vote early were frequently subjected to lines of three and four hours -- and as Governor Rick Scott refused to take action to ease the lines, in some cases those lines extended to six and seven hours," the former governor, who recently became a Democrat, added. "Election Day confusion led to horrifying lines again on Election Day, which played a role in Florida remaining in the undecided category until Thursday, some two days after the last ballot was cast."
During the committee hearing on voting rights, the Republican-turned-Democrat said Gov. Scott and the Florida legislature had made it harder to vote by passing restrictive laws and reducing the number of early voting days from 14 to 8.
Crist alleged the changes to voting in Florida were "designed to encourage a certain partisan outcome."
The Florida legislature had placed new restrictions on third-party voter registration organizations, which were later struck down by a federal judge, and Gov. Scott had attempted to purge suspected non-citizens from the voter rolls, which was also blocked in court.
"Senators, as you spend time thinking about how we can make voting easier and more accessible, I would encourage you to think long and hard about establishing some national standards," Crist concluded, "standards that would ensure lengthy in person early voting, as well as common sense provisions such as same day voter registration and allowing voters to vote at the precinct most convenient for them."
[Image via Flickr user Sharing Florida, Creative Commons licensed]