Florida Five: Crist’s name removed from race car, No-party surge, fraud reshape Fla. politics

Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

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Charlie Crist’s name removed from car racing at Daytona: Decals bearing the name of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist have been removed from a car competing in the Coke Zero 400 after Florida Republican officials complained. Crist’s name was going to appear on Josh Wise’s No. 98 car, but the decals were removed Friday because of a complaint by the Republican Party of Florida alleging that the sponsorship violated campaign finance laws, according to the car’s owner, former NASCAR driver Phil Parsons and Mike Curb, the car’s entrant and associate sponsor. Read more.

Duplicate voter registrations plague Florida’s election system: When it comes to voting, the rules are clear: One person, one address and one vote.At least that’s how it’s suppose to work.But Andrew Ladanowski, owner of the computer software company AddinSolutions Inc., suspects Florida’s Division of Elections isn’t cross checking.To verify his suspicions, he did “a very quick analysis” of Miami-Dade’s voting system and turned up 44 voter IDs issued to the same person. Elections officials admit 42 of those 44 were in fact duplicates.All in all, some 762 Florida voters have more than one county-issued voter ID card. Some are registered with the same address, and others are registered in different counties.  Read more.

Sorry, Charlie, Rick Scott Nailed Down the GOP Base: Considered politically dead for much of last year, Rick Scott has bounced back in the polls and has edged ahead of Charlie Crist in recent surveys. One of the reasons Scott has slipped ahead has been the result of his control over the Republican base, no small thing especially as Crist has run five times for statewide office for the GOP before jumping ship to the Democrats.
Scott’s grasp on the GOP was on display again in recent days when Bill McCollum fell in line behind the governor. McCollum and Scott clashed in the Republican primary in 2010 and they left lasting wounds in each other. After losing the primary, McCollum sulked in his tent, refusing to back Scott over Alex Sink.  Read more.

marajuannaPot-growing licenses may be settled by lottery: Winners of Florida’s five, highly sought-after medical marijuana licenses could be selected through lotteries, according to draft rules released by the Department of Health.The 16-page document comes in advance of an agency workshop Monday in Tallahassee that is drawing heavy attention.The draft rule, generally considered a starting point, outlines how the state intends to carry out a new law, signed by Gov. Scott, that made Florida one of nearly two dozen states that permit some sort of marijuana.Florida’s law restricts legal marijuana to strains that are low in euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and high in cannabadiol, or CBD. The low-THC, high-CBD strain is purported to eliminate or dramatically reduce life-threatening seizures in children with severe epilepsy.  Read more.

Big surge in no-party voters could reshape Florida politics: Tired of Beltway bickering, turned off by labels, or not ready to be Republicans or Democrats, they are NPAs, voters with no party affiliation who are rejecting both parties in record numbers and fueling a national trend.Since 2010, Florida’s voter roll has expanded by more than 500,000, to 11.7 million, and nearly 90 percent of the growth is in unaffiliated voters. During the same period, the size of the two major parties has remained relatively stagnant.Combined with voters who belong to minor parties, no-party voters now outnumber Republicans in the state’s big three counties of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, in addition to Orange, the heart of the Interstate 4 corridor in Orlando.They account for 3 million voters or one of every four voters.  Read more.

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