Some Republicans think Crist has now cost McCain Florida…
In a somewhat big story, Florida Governor Charlie Crist has extended the early voting hours in Florida by an extra four hours a day, a move that Democrats were pushing for and Republicans were against. This decision will likely cause Obama to further expand his lead in Florida early voting, since the Republicans don’t seem to have have any large scale early voting GOTV program in place (they focused more on mail ballots).
At a hastily arranged news conference, Crist said the right to vote is sacred and that “many have fought and died for this right.” He said he consulted a leading Democratic legislator, Rep. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach, before issuing his order, and that Gelber knew of a similar order issued by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2002 that dealt with helping voters deal with new equipment.
As to the perception that more early voting helps Democrats, Crist said: “This is not a political decision. This is a people decision.”
One well connected Florida Republican had this to say about the decision, probably overreaching a bit.
“He just blew Florida for John McCain.”
So why does this help Obama and hurt McCain? Here’s a simple explanation of it. Obama’s base tends to be in big cities and urban areas. Voting locations in big cities tend to have very long lines on election day because a single voting location serves thousands of people. This is why Obama has made such a push for early voting — he doesn’t want people to show up on election day, see long lines, and go home. McCain’s base is mostly in rural areas and suburbs. Voting locations in rural areas and suburbs tend to have no lines, because they only serve a few hundred people at most. Extending early voting hours allows the Obama camp to get more of these people in urban centers to the polls and thus reduce traffic on election day which in turn will cause shorter lines and further increase turnout.
Last week, all nine Democrats in the Florida congressional delegation wrote a letter urging him to expand early voting and to order all early voting sites to be open on Sunday.
Early balloting in Florida so far favors Democrats, while Republicans hold an advantage in absentee voting. Waits of up to four hours have been reported in precincts in heavily-Democratic Broward County.
And finally, this video from an earlier voter in Broward County, South Florida, who from start to finish, was able to vote today in just under 3 hours.