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Early Voting Waiting Times in Florida Exceed Four Hours
Early voting has become more popular this year because people find it difficult to get to the polls on Tuesday, so quite a few states have provided early voting times this year. One of those states has experienced a multitude of problems thought because its governor will not extend early voting hours. The state of Florida is at the center of election controversy once again as voters have had to stand in long lines.
“People are getting out to vote. That’s what’s very good,” said Scott.
Some of the wait times for early voting in Florida have ranged from three to four hours. On Saturday, voters in Miami-Dade were allowed to cast their vote if they were in line by 7 p.m. The final person waiting in line was not checked in until 1 a.m. This means that voters waited six hours to place their vote.
“We’re looking at an election meltdown that is eerily similar to 2000, minus the hanging chads,” said Dan Smith, a political science professor at the University of Florida.
On Sunday, Miami-Dade attempted to fix the problem by permitting absentee ballots to be placed in person from 1 to 5 p.m. After just two hours of voting, the operation was ended because too many people appeared to vote. Lucas Leyva, who was turned away from voting, spoke with the Huffington Post about the ordeal. Leyva said the following:
“They didn’t have the infrastructure. We read the press release and everything that went out this morning, promising we’d be able to get absentee ballots and vote. We got here and there was a line of hundreds of people all being told the same thing, that that wasn’t true anymore. You could drop off [a ballot], but they could not issue one.”
Christina White, a department spokeswoman, said, “We had the best of intentions to provide this service today. We just can’t accommodate it to the degree that we would like to.”
Other in-person absentee polling places open on Sunday included the locations of Palm Beach, Pinellas, Orange, Leon and Hillsborough Counties. Campaign operators for President Barack Obama tried to keep the people in line as long as possible by bringing in water, food, musicians and DJs to entertainment them while waiting. Andre Pierre, the mayor of North Miami, brought voters over 400 slices of pizza at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday night at the public library in the city.
“Absentee ballots have a much higher rejection rate for minorities and young people, if you look at the Aug. 14 primary,” Smith said.
The reason for the long lines this year is that in 2011, the legislature of Florida, controlled by the GOP, reduced the number of early voting days from 14 to eight. This means that the early voters have less time to place their vote than in the past.