In Early Voting Debacle in Doral, Carlos Gimenez Fails To Lead
|Voters wait to get their absentee ballots at the Miami-Dade elections main office.|
That's when Gimenez relented and allowed the absentee voting to continue. Banana Republican's guess: One of the mayor's advisers reminded Gimenez about the 2000 presidential election debacle when GOP operatives imported from the Midwest intimidated and harassed the Miami-Dade canvassing board into cancelling a hand recount, sealing George W. Bush's narrow victory over Al Gore.
A local Republican Party operative, on the condition of anonymity, told me Gimenez is trying to play both sides. My source notes the Florida Democratic Party is represented by Miami lawyer Kendall Coffey, who was also Gimenez's attorney when County Commissioner Joe Martinez sued to overturn the Aug. 14 mayoral election on allegations that Gimenez's campaign engaged in absentee ballot fraud.
The source also added that several of Gimenez's campaign consultants are working on passage of the $1.2 billion school bond issue, whose champion, Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, has been clamoring for more early voting hours.
"Gimenez knew what was going on," the source said. "That this was solely Alina Hudak's decision is bullshit."
Bolstering the source's claim is a press release the mayor's office of communications issued at 9:33 a.m. Sunday announcing the elections office would open at 1 p.m. for on-site absentee voting. In addition, workers from Democratic congressional candidate Joe Garcia's campaign came to the elections HQ prepared for the masses, handing out bottled water and pretzels. Obama volunteers set up a table too.
When the absentee voting resumed, I interviewed some of the voters Gimenez almost disenfranchised, including a couple of county employees.
Larry Lowe, a Miami-Dade water and sewer worker, said he received a robocall from the Obama campaign around 1:30 p.m. to go to Doral. On Saturday, Lowe had given up on voting after waiting in line for two hours at the North Miami public library to cast his ballot.
"I've had the flu for the past two weeks," Lowe said. "It was too damn hot on Saturday. I couldn't stand up anymore so I had to leave."
Allison Norris, a blonde woman in her 20s, goes to law school at the University of Miami full-time so she couldn't make it to an early voting site before Sunday.
"I can't wait in line for six hours so I didn't try," she said. "I saw someone post about the absentee voting on Facebook so I came here."
Dorsena Armstrong, a Miami-Dade bus driver from Miami Gardens, said she too avoided early voting because of the long lines. On Sunday, she changed her mind.
"I didn't want to give up," Armstrong said. "I need to vote."
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