How Early Voting Ruined My Weekend: Tell Us Your Stories of Failed Democracy

Categories: Culture
voting_line_Lemon_City.jpg
Ciara LaVelle
The line to vote at Lemon City on Saturday morning.
When I woke up at 7 a.m. on Saturday and checked the wait times for early voting at my local polling place, the Lemon City library, the Miami-Dade website said I'd spend 45 minutes in line. I remembered the horror stories about voting in 2008, and I knew the polls would be crowded that day, because it was the last day of early voting.

Still, 45 minutes sounded pretty good. I figured I'd end up waiting for two hours, max.

See also:
- In Early Voting Debacle, Gimenez Fails to Lead

But when I arrived at the library, that wait time had ballooned to three hours. By the time I left, I'd been standing in line for five hours -- legs aching, skin painfully sunburned, hungry, ornery, and pissed. And I had it easy. Some voters reported waiting as long as eight hours to vote this weekend; the last early voter to pass through Miami-Dade polls reportedly did so at 1 a.m. Sunday morning.

The workers at the library did what they could to ease our pain. Volunteers passed out water and snacks, and at the very front of the line, folding chairs were provided. But these tiny comforts weren't enough to offset the frustratingly slow shuffle around the adjacent park.

On Sunday, as I iced my sunburned neck and considered splurging on a massage to work out the ache in my lower back from all that standing, I thought about the woman standing in line behind me the day before, who agonized over whether to leave the line so she could make it to work on time. And the girl in front of me in line, who waited as long as I did to vote, only to learn when she finally reached the front of the line that her registration -- which she had completed before the 2012 voting deadline -- hadn't been processed. She left, defeated, without filling out a ballot.

Turns out, I was lucky to have cast my vote at all. After telling voters they'd be able to cast ballots on Sunday, the Miami-Dade elections department headquarters -- the only open polling place in the county -- began turning voters away at the doors. Voters' cars were reportedly towed from the site before officials reopened the doors.

Whether you voted this weekend or not, you've heard somebody's horror story about trying, successfully or no, to participate in this year's election. We're all angry about the absurdly difficult process we've endured in Miami-Dade. And we all deserve to be heard. So if you have a tale of early voting awfulness, please share it in the comments below. At best, your stories could inspire real change. At worst, at least you have a chance to vent your frustrations.

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15 comments
Ked Killjoy
Ked Killjoy

Well my story isnt a horror story. I was prepared to stand in line for 2 hours. Thats how long i had to wait in 2008. So when I got there I saw the line was lomg but waited anyway. A 2 hour wait turned into a 6 hour wait. During that time people were passing out water bottles but that did not help the 3 elderly people that passed out from the heat. There were no chairs and no food unless you bought it urself. Lucky for me the people behind me saved my spot, 4 hours in line, so i can get something to eat. Went to checkers and there was another line full of people that had walked across the street from the voting line. After that line I did manage to get my food, walk back to the voting line, and eat while standing in line. Thats how i spent my saturday. Not scary but it wasnt a good day at all.

ivxx
ivxx

I went to vote Friday morning and spent 1hr45mins waiting in line, then roughly 20 minutes actually voting. My parents actually went to vote before me, they arrived before 7am and there was already a line of close to 100 people they were done in less than 90minutes. Aside from the sun beating on my neck it wasn't too bad of an experience. The website listed the waiting as 52mins, so I can't say I'm too surprised that the stations with 3 hour wait times balloned up to 5+ hours.

 

I would recommend downloading the sample ballot and familiarizing yourself with the ballot to cut down on your and everyone else's wait time. I was done and there were people who had gone in 15mins before me still voting. Tomorrow should be better considering there's sooo many polling sites and no school.

jgcamp99
jgcamp99

You were just a victim of being in South Florida, get on the Palmetto anywhere from Miami Lakes to Doral for a commute, you'll know what I mean.

Mae86
Mae86

too much people in Miami end of story

Armando Hernandez
Armando Hernandez

That's because you were stupid enough not to vote absentee! LOL

gingdawn1
gingdawn1

Absentee ballots were a lost cause this year. Many people are STILL waiting to get theirs. I listened to a lady on NPR talk about how she spent more than an hour and a half on the phone trying to find out why hers never arrived. I waited in line for two hours. And I wrote about it, too.

http://electricblogarella.com/dont-forget-to-vote/

 

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

Screw all you you lazy Jerks.

 

You had 8 days of early voting.

You could have requested an absentee ballot any time over the past few months.

The Election Office wasn't even suppose to be open on Sunday.

 

People in many other countries risk their very lives for the opportunity to vote and you whinny, girlie men complain because they don't bend over backwards to help you.

 

I hope none of you entitlement, queens get to vote at all,

Willbecounted
Willbecounted

 @Anthonyvop1  I requested my ballot on-line in August, to make sure, I mailed in a request in Sept .it never arrived, requested again by phone in mid-Oct. Finally got it and mailed it on Oct.30. Just checked, My Ballot has not been received. It's 2000 all over again!! This is the party that claims to protect our freedoms? Why are they afraid to let people vote?Tomorrow is going to be a clusterfrack! I'll be in line at 6:30 AM. Spread the word, the fix is in AGAIN in Florida. We cannot let them get away with it this time.

JoseDuran
JoseDuran moderator communitymanager

 @Anthonyvop1 I wouldn't vote via absentee ballot if my life depended on it. Who knows what happens to those things after they are mailed. Also, the ability to vote within a reasonable time frame isn't lazy, it's democracy. Waiting hours and hours to vote certainly doesn't help anyone.

jjcolagrande
jjcolagrande topcommenter

@Anthonyvop1

 

You call waiting in line five hours to vote lazy?

 

I'd call that patriotic...

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

 @Willbecounted You realize that Miami-Dade County is pretty much run by the Democrats and R.I.N.O.s right?  There hasn't been a Conservative in power since..........Never. 

rjflamingo
rjflamingo

 @JoseDuran  @Anthonyvop1 I'm with you, Jose. I've been poll-watching several days this week, and loads of people were bringing in their absentee ballots to deliver them by hand. They were taking the absentee ballots and putting them in the same box as the provisional ballots. I'd rather wait in line (which I did), vote, and know with certainty that my vote counted.  Absentee ballots are the most thrown-out type of vote. If you didn't put your return address on the outside, forgot to sign the outside, forgot to date the outside, or if your signature looks funny to the random person who handles your ballot, it can be thrown out and you wouldn't have time to do anything about it.

foreclosure
foreclosure

 @jjcolagrande  @Anthonyvop1 Watch out Anthony...JJ's got an agenda! He's promoting his new book, Deco, a Miami satire. He speaks of patriotism, but is that a prevailing theme in his book on music festival culture, Headz? Hmm, maybe I should buy both just to see what this guy's about.... Damnit, it worked....your plan JJ, iiiitttt worrrrkkkeeddd...noooooooo.   :) :)

 

HAHA but really I feel bad for people that had bad experiences -- my absentee experience was smooth, easy, enjoyable, and gratifying, like reading a JJ Colagrande novel...

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

 @rjflamingo  @JoseDuran If you forget to do any of that stuff than I am happy they toss out the ballot.   The less idiots the better.

 

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