A Republican Party of Florida spokesman, Brian Burgess, said Crist and Nelson were guilty of political posturing and disputed the suggestion that the party was complicit in limiting early voting days. Burgess said that was done later by an amendment offered by Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami.
One Republican of the Judiciary Committee, Iowas Charles Grassley, said earlier in the hearing that opponents of anti-fraud legislation trivialize the importance of having crime-free elections.
Fraud does exist. Its a fact of life. And it will get worse if the only response is denial, Grassley.
Grassley pointed to a study from the nonpartisan Pew Study on the States that found millions of people are registered to vote in more than one state simultaneously, dead people are on the voter rolls in some states and that the identities of a few dead people have been used to cast ballots.
We should never trivialize efforts to expand the voter rolls, but we should make sure that those people who get on the voter rolls are entitled to be there, Grassley said, noting that President Obamas Homeland Security Department refused to help states like Iowa and Florida identify noncitizen voters on their rolls.
Crist later criticized Scott for trying to purge 200,000 citizens an inflated number. Scotts elections division initially identified a potential pool of 200,000 possible noncitizen, but the state asked counties to review the citizenship status for just 2,700 of them.
Ultimately, the counties not the state were to make the determination on whether a potential noncitizen was allowed to vote. And many county election supervisors stopped the program when they found the list was riddled with false-positives.
Florida successfully fought off the U.S. Justice Departments attempts to block the purge program and had to sue the Department of Homeland Security for access to a database that made the search for noncitizens easier.
However, relatively few potential noncitizens were actually proved to be unlawfully on the rolls.
Polls showed that Scotts noncitizen-purge program was supported by voters.
Judging by the ire of South Florida voters on Election Day and during in-person early voting, the law Scott signed is probably less well-liked.
Some voters dropped out of early voting lines because of the long waits, only to encounter them at the polls on Election Day. Some voters had to drop out of line on Election Day as well to go to work. At least one woman fainted in line before she could vote.
A big reason for the Election Day long lines: Some precincts didnt have enough voting booths to handle voters who took longer to vote because of the longer ballot -- which was the result of a number of proposed state Constitutional amendments the Legislature tacked on the ballot.
Scott spoke about all those problems Wednesday on CNNs Starting Point.
Theres three things," he said. "One, the length of the ballot. Two, weve got to allow our supervisors more flexibility on the size of our polling locations. And three, the number of days we have" for early voting.
The bad publicity comes at an unwelcome time for Scott, whose favorability ratings are poor.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday morning found that just 31 percent of voters had a favorable view of him while 43 percent held an unfavorable view. Crists numbers: 47 percent favorable, 33 percent unfavorable.
Crist is widely believed to be preparing for a comeback. He opted not to seek a second term to run for the U.S. Senate in 2010, when Crist had such high poll numbers that he seemed unbeatable.
But Crist fared so badly against former House Speaker Marco Rubio in the GOP primary that Crist left the party. Running as an independent, Crist lost out to Rubio anyway.
In preparation for Crists run, Scott and the state GOP have repeatedly reminded reporters about Crists ideological flip-flops and the record number of jobs the state lost while Crist was governor from 2007-2011.
Crist, in turn, sounds ready to make his upcoming election about the last election, contrasting the relatively smooth experience in 2008 with what happened Nov. 6.
We knew the outcome of the state election before the 11 o clock news in 2008, Crist said. Unfortunately, the last few years in Florida [lawmakers] havent been so forward thinking.