Early voters in Miami, Florida faced trouble and waited for hours in long queues that created a lot of chaos and confusion. Few of them even returned home disappointed and tired without voting.
“This is America, not a third-world country,” saidMyrna Peralta, who waited in line to vote with her 4-year-old grandson for nearly two hours before the elections officials closed doors to their Doral headquarters in Miami, Florida. “They should have been prepared. My beautiful Sunshine State.” She lamented. “They’re not letting people vote.”
“This is America, not a third-world country” - Miami woman who waited 2 hours then was turned away from voting. hrld.us/UsW8BR— Jim Roberts (@nytjim) November 4, 2012
Elections officials, besieged with voters, locked the doors temporarily shut down the operation during early voting, infuriating around 200 voters standing in line outside just to recommence the actions an hour later.
At that instant the officials gave reasons of shortage of staff and blamed technical equipment for the temporary shutdown but the real issue was something else! Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez had never signed off on the additional in-person absentee voting hours!
Miami-Dade Mayor says he didn't sign off on additional early voting & wasn't aware it was happening. hrld.us/UsW8BR— Jim Roberts (@nytjim) November 5, 2012
But Gimenez, quickly realized it was better to let the voting go on, and the voting. Gimenez informed, he found out early Sunday afternoon from his daughter-in-law about the extra voting hours.
This move was approved by Deputy Mayor Alina Hudak at the request of Elections Supervisor Penelope Townsley and by the rule voters were allowed to request, fill out and return absentee ballots in person for four hours Sunday afternoon.
Gimenez said he was very annoyed at Hudak, “I’m going to have to deal with this internally,” he said. “I’m not saying somebody’s going to be lose their job, but somebody made a poor error in judgment that’s not really helping the community.”
Hudak told Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4 that she approved the decision, which at the time she did not see as a major policy shift. “I apologized to the mayor,” she said. “I should have told him. I made a bad call.”
The elections office reopened its doors at 3 p.m., after being closed for about an hour, apologized.The crowd showed exuberance and around 400 people stood in line at 5 p.m. Campaign workers passed out bottled water and granola bars.
Take a look at what people tweeted after so many hours of waiting in cues to vote: