On Tuesday the state Senate budget panel cleared a controversial elections bill that, unlike the House version, cuts Florida’s early voting period in half. At least one senator, though, gave his word that that provision will be modified as the bill moves forward.

Members rejected amendments offered by Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Miami, that would have restored the length of early voting.

Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, and Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, both said they were willing to support amendments that would add two days of early voting to the seven provided in the bill, and increase the number of hours of early voting each day, so that the total amount of early voting time would hold steady.

Diaz de la Portilla said he was planning to file the amendment but couldn’t get the wording together in time. During a previous discussion of the bill, he said early voting provisions were among those he was most willing to change, after supervisors of elections said early voting would be essential to accommodating the expected high turnout for the upcoming presidential election.

Gaetz gave his word that if the amendment didn’t surface when the measure came to the floor, he would support other changes to restore early voting.

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