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Salon: Florida Election Debacle Deja Vu

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A voting line in Sierra Leon. You'd think America could do better, but so far early voting lines prove we can't.
Florida's 27 electoral votes may once again be a deciding factor in this year's election. We're used to that, unfortunately we also may be used to long voting lines and tricky election practices (and none of it, apparently, has anything to do with ACORN). As Salon's Mike Madden writes, "Once again, polls show the state is deadlocked -- and once again, there's a very real possibility that a lot of people who support the Democratic candidate could have trouble voting."

Basically, Salon is concerned that the long voting lines and widespread misinformation will turn voters away from polls.

A combination of heavy turnout and widespread confusion over new I.D. laws at the polling places could overwhelm the system again. "I don't believe that anybody's going to be ready for the onslaught of voters," said Roger Weeden, an Orlando lawyer who's working with Election Protection, a national coalition of civil rights and public interest groups that will monitor problems with voting around the country through Nov. 4. The new law -- known as "no match, no vote" -- says you need identification at the polls, and you can't vote if your driver's license I.D. number or Social Security number doesn't match what's in state or federal databases. Rumors are flying, especially in minority communities, that the law is even more restrictive. On Tuesday night, Miami's "Hot 105" soul station spent a good 30 minutes during the evening rush hour discussing potential voting problems.

Four years ago, I waited five hours in line to cast my vote in same building where I attended the first Bush vs. Kerry debate. It didn't strike me as a shining example of democracy. University of Miami had run a large scale voter registration drive but only 5 voting machines were at the on campus precinct (The precinct ended up to be about 66% Kerry. And yes, a few kids gave up). As Donna Shalala said to the line, "It doesn't matter which party you're voting for, I just think they're trying to keep you from voting." They've had four years to correct problems like that, but if the long early voting lines are any indication, they haven't done very much.

--Kyle Munzenrieder


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