In Early Voting Debacle in Doral, Carlos Gimenez Fails To Lead

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Voters wait to get their absentee ballots at the Miami-Dade elections main office.
Elections department spokeswoman Christina White initially claimed the office had been overwhelmed by the throng of voters. But when county officials tried to turn away the crowd standing in line, many began to chant: "Let us vote! Let us vote!" Some people banged on the locked glass doors.

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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18 comments
Wastrel
Wastrel

Gimenez a bureaucrat?  No, he's a shameful excuse for an American.  He actually ordered the polls closed with people waiting in line.  He should be tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail.

TK Small
TK Small

questionable ethics by a dade politician big surprise!well matt maybe you could read a history book about voter suppression in the south. no one dem or repub should put up with this!

drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter

to mitt the twit when are you ever going to learn? that sliver spoon in your mouth gives you ideals! Above your position. If you weren't such an i di ot you probably will have won and what make it worse. Is you can't even see that! you call forty-seven percent of the citizenry shiftless moochers and still hope to win the presidency. Tax policy is made up of small mystical creatures and health problems are already solved through the miracle of .emergency rooms! Romney is headed back to his home in New Hampshire in January and Obama will become the President again.Obama will be reelected in a close election, with the results delayed because of recounts or delayed election results and that the Democrats will stay a majority in the Senate

Sasha Winderbaum
Sasha Winderbaum

Great timing Carlito, the Feds are in Miami Beach and Bal Harbour.

Chard Beauregarde
Chard Beauregarde

Eff this guy and eff that scumbag Rick Scott for making things difficult to the common voter!

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

2000 will be a field-day compared to what I'm afraid of...

Suziedela1
Suziedela1

Funny how some people can wait hours in front of Mansion and Apple but complain about voting lines

Yaser Castro
Yaser Castro

I forecast a repeat of the 2000 embarrassment.

Boukman Mangones
Boukman Mangones

Billions in campaign financing but no money to extend early voting and reduce the pending fiasco on election day with added bonus of the longest ballot in Florida history? Here come the lawsuits

Mar Lena
Mar Lena

not me, I voted there yesterday!

dantevida
dantevida topcommenter

oh boy, here we go.  S. FL already in the spotlight for election mishaps, and it's not even election day.

Craig Chester
Craig Chester

There is a very real potential for violence if this type of disenfranchisement happens tomorrow.

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