Early voting results in Florida show mounting frustration at the polls as voters wait in lines for hours to cast their ballots, dealing with unprepared or unequipped polling places.
The problem with early voting results in Florida has sent the battleground to the forefront of the nation’s attention again, The Huffington Post reported. The state that once produced “hanging chads” and a drawn-out recount in the 2000 election that led to a victory for George W. Bush by a little more than 500 votes now looks to provide more Election Day drama.
Democrats in Florida have laid some of the blame of Florida’s early voting results with Republican Governor Rick Scott, WSVN reported. Many have alleged that Republicans are taking efforts to limit participation in early voting, which is seen as a benefit to President Obama.
Scott and other state officials have resisted calls to allow polls to stay open beyond the eight days required by state law.
“People are getting out to vote. That’s what’s very good,” Scott said. “People are getting out to vote, they’re voting absentee, they’re voting early voting… I’m focused on making sure that we have fair, honest elections. One thing to know, these early voting days and on Election Day, if you’re there by the time the polls close, you get to vote.”
Early voting results have shown polling places unequipped to handle the volume of voters showing up. One voter in Miami-Dade noted that some people who got in line to vote at 7 pm weren’t checked in until 1 am.
“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.
Early voting results got even worse for voters in Florida. Miami-Dade tried to fix the long waits by having voters cast absentee ballots in person on Sunday, but the elections department there had to shut down the location after too many people showed up, the Miami Herald reported. This caused voters to gather outside the office, pleading with officials to re-open so they could vote.
“They didn’t have the infrastructure,” filmmaker Lucas Leyva, who was among those turned away, told The Huffington Post‘s Janie Campbell. “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.”
Early voting results weren’t the only problems for those who showed up. About 180 people had their cars towed from the parking lot across the street while they were stuck waiting at the polls, the Miami Herald noted.