The polls have closed in South Florida and voting results are trickling in.
Testy primary races for the Florida House of Representatives and United States Congress are on the ballot, and countywide offices in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties are also up for grabs.
Miami Gardens voters are choosing new commissioners and a new mayor, and Miami-Dade voters deciding whether to lift a decades-old ban on pit bulls.
In addition, local referendums are being decided on the Miami Beach Convention Center, Museum of Contemporary Art, benefits for Opa-locka elected officials and terms for commissioners in Miami Springs.
Miami-Dade’s “Official Voter Guide,” 6 p.m.
Denise Allen, a 56-year-old bartender, said “I really didn’t do my homework” before going to vote at 1590 NE 123rd St. in North Miami.
Allen said her decisions were made simple by a Rudy Moise canvasser, who gave her a handy “Miami-Dade County Official Voter Guide.”
The guide, endorsed by political operative Willis Howard, told her to vote for Moise for Congress District 24, state attorney candidate Rod Vereen and Joe Martinez for Miami-Dade mayor, along with another two dozen candidates. A picture of Michelle Obama was printed on the back along with a quote, apparently from the first lady.
“I love Obama,” Allen said.
Such guides are commonplace on election day.
For instance, voters in Kendall received a Miami-Dade Republican ballot guide Tuesday by Parents for Better Education telling them to vote for specific candidates for state representative, county commission and community council.
This year, however, guides are being handed out to voters as investigators look into absentee ballot fraud, including allegations that ballot brokers filled out forms against voters’ intentions.
Two Hialeah absentee-ballot brokers have been charged over the last two weeks with voter fraud. The brokers, known as boleteros in Spanish, have yet to be linked directly to any campaign, though the cases have indirectly touched the county mayor, the state attorney and a county commissioner.
— Daniel Ducassi, Patricia Mazzei and David Smiley
Voters complain of party-affiliation confusion, 5:30 p.m.
Some voters in Broward and Miami-Dade complained Tuesday about confusion from poll workers regarding their party affiliations and corresponding ballots.
Christian Schlareth, a 32-year-old sociology professor at Barry University, said workers apparently weren’t sure how to handle a voter who belongs to the Party of Socialism and Liberation.
Schlareth said poll workers at 1590 NE 123rd St. in North Miami were not going to let him vote because it was a primary and most candidates are Democrats or Republicans, as opposed to Socialist/Libertarians.
He insisted that he had a right to vote for mayor and for a local referendum, so workers placed a phone call to make sure it was okay for him to use a non-partisan ballot, Schlareth said.
Schlareth, who wanted to bounce Miami-Dade’s mayor from office, eventually got his ballot — and then mistakenly voted for Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
“I voted for the wrong guy,” he said.
Broward voter Morgan Dickinson complained that when he went to vote at Hollywood’s West Lake Park, he was given the wrong ballot.
Dickinson, a registered Republican, was given a nonpartisan ballot. When he told the woman who had given him the ballot, she said Tuesday’s election was a Democratic primary and the Republican primary was two months ago, he said.