Thursday, Governor Charlie Crist congratulated the Florida Legislature for passing legislation that will replace touch-screen voting machines with optical scan machines statewide for Election Day voting and early voting sites. He also praised the Legislature for changing the date of Florida's presidential primary to an earlier date -- the last Tuesday in January.

"The right to vote is the foundation of our nation's democracy, and Florida voters can rest assured that they will have an election system they can believe in," Governor Crist said. "With an earlier presidential primary, Florida will now take its rightful place near the front of the line in determining the next leader of the free world." 

Touch-screen machines will still be used to comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

"This is an outstanding bipartisan achievement by Governor Crist and the Florida Legislature," said U.S. Representative Robert Wexler. "The citizens of Florida have long demanded an election system guaranteeing that every vote is counted. Today the Governor delivered a paper trail, and Florida now stands as a model for the nation."

"This legislation will preserve the integrity of Florida's elections and protect every Floridian's right to have his or her vote counted," Crist said. "Florida voters will be able to have more confidence in the voting process and the reliability of Florida's elections. I appreciate the work of the House and Senate for passing legislation that will establish a paper trail for votes cast in Florida elections and ensure that Florida continues to lead the way in election reform."