House approves Election Overhaul Bill, 118-1

Election Overhaul Bill drives 'Awake the State' rallies

Published On: Mar 11 2013 02:54:08 PM EDT   Updated On: Mar 06 2013 07:20:02 AM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

House members voted 118-1 to approve the Election Overhaul Bill, which would allow supervisors of elections to hold as many as 14 days of early voting, instead of 8. The bill is the driving force behind the "Awake the State" movement , which included protests across the state, calling for election reform.

"Taking away our right to vote is like removing our future and taking away it's right to hope ," said one of the protestors in Duval County Tuesday night.

Spirited voters gathered in downtown Jacksonville and in St. Augustine, but voters who are looking to change the state's decision to reduce the number of days for early voting and to eliminate voting on Sunday before an election. Duval County Supervisor of Elections, Jerry Holland, supports the efforts.

"What we're hoping is out of Tallahassee, we're going to see some positive changes," said Holland. "We're going to see the number of early voting days increase, we're going to see shorter ballots."

St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections, Vicky Oakes, agrees and said that last years 4 page ballot was daunting for voters.

"A lot of them felt it was too much, the language wasn't simple," said Oakes. "It was not easy to understand and the ballot was just so long."

Organizers of Tuesday night's "Awake the State" rally believe the length of the ballot kept a lot of voters from the polls.

"No more than 75 words to a ballot amendment and don't make them 20 pages and 12 pages long. People don't read that legal stuff carefully and they become frustrated and they don't vote ," said Annette Cappella.

Activists are hoping that the bill will make the next election in Florida snafu free.

"Tell them that this is what Florida wants. They want too be not the laughing stock of America on election day again ," said Cappella.