Credit where credit is due

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE…. I have some friends and family in Florida — I’m a Miami native — and I’ve heard quite a few stories about extraordinary lines in order to vote. One guy I know waited in line for literally three hours — in the middle of a weekday, when one might assume the lines would be shorter.

To his credit, the governor is actually going to help those who want to participate in the process.

Gov. Charlie Crist on Tuesday extended early voting hours across Florida to 12 hours a day.

The executive order comes after record early voting turnout has contributed to long lines at polling sites.

Current Florida law allows for early voting to be conducted eight hours a day each weekday and for a total of eight hours during the weekends.

With Crist’s order, early voting sites will be open the rest of this week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. They will be open a total of 12 hours on Saturday and Sunday, the last day of early voting.

Immediately after signing the order, which declares a state of emergency, Crist told reporters, ”It’s not a political decision. It’s a people decision.”

Given the recent trend — most of the early Floridian voters have been Democrats — the decision doesn’t do McCain any favors, which makes Crist’s decision all the more honorable.

Indeed, it’s also worth noting that Crist also broke with traditional Republican norms upon taking office, making it easier for released felons to regain their voting rights.

I disagree with Crist on a whole lot of issues, but when it comes to voting, he seems willing to do what too many Republicans won’t: the right thing.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.