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Extended Early Voting Hours Could be Costly

State and federal officials have agreed on a trade-off for cutting the number of early voting days from 14 to 8 in an attempt to save money.

This clears the way for approval of a new Florida voting law, but election officials are worried these changes will bring extra costs.

Five counties covered by the Voting Rights Act might have to keep polls open longer - 12 hours instead of 8.

Monroe County Elections supervisor Harry Sawyer says state lawmakers inaccurately portrayed this change as a cost-saving measure.

But other state officials were warning that there could be extra costs.

“You know what, this is far more expensive”, said Sawyer. “When the secretary of state was talking to us and trying to get us all on board for this, he did mention to all five of us that he himself would go to the other counties and explain to them the increase that we were going to incur because of the new voting law.”

Sawyer says and other officials say longer hours means they will have to pay overtime.

Ion Sancho is the elections supervisor in Leon County.

Sancho said, “We looked at our numbers and saw that if we went to 12 hour shifts, we would have to pay over $110,000 extra. And we can’t do that. So, the idea that this reduction in time actually helped our economic bottom line, is so false that it should not even be a talking point.”

An official sign-off on the new voting hours is expected within the next few weeks.

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