As has been widely reported, the lines for early voting in Ohio and Florida, two very important swing states, have been astronomically long. People are waiting hours and hours in line to take advantage of early voting, largely because the lines will likely be even longer on election day. And none of this is a coincidence; it is absolutely intentional and planned.
In 2008, record numbers of voters in Ohio and Florida voted early because, in 2004, the lines on election day were so long they often had to spend all day in line. And the majority of those who voted early were voting Democratic, a fact clearly not lost on Republicans. So in both states, Republican-controlled legislatures and governors passed laws to cut back on the number of days for early voting and the length of the hours the polls were open on those days. The inevitable result: Longer lines.
And what do longer lines mean? It means some people aren’t going to be able to vote. People have jobs, kids with babysitters or at daycare, and other responsibilities. The longer the wait to vote, the fewer people are going to be able to cast a ballot. And that helps the Republicans. And they know it. In Florida, both Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist extended the hours that early voting places were open to help ease the problem; Rick Scott is refusing to do so, even when county election clerks have asked permission to remain open.
After cutting the number of early voting days from 14 to 8 — after creating this problem himself — he is refusing to do anything to fix it. Because it’s only a problem if you care about voting rights; if, like Scott, you only care about helping your party, it’s not a problem at all — it’s exactly what you intended. It’s a feature, not a bug.