The 2012 ballot that South Floridians will face at the polls on Nov. 6 is a long one. The lines of people waiting to cast a vote, no doubt, will seem interminable. But voters need to hang in there — in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, important municipal issues await toward the end of the multipage ballot, and every voice should be heard.
Democracy isn’t always convenient, but voters have a chance to avoid the long Election Day lines. There is still time to request an absentee ballot. Voters can call or email their elections department or go in person. The last day to make a request is Oct. 31. The elections departments must receive filled-in ballots by 7 p.m. Nov. 6 — not postmarked, but in hand.
The other opportunity to get voting out of the way is to do it early, in person. Beginning Oct. 27, early-voting runs through Saturday, Nov. 3. Remember, there’s only one Sunday, Oct. 28, to vote early, thanks to the blatantly political clampdown by the GOP-led Legislature.
The Miami-Dade County Department of Elections hit the ground running early. It posted the sample ballot weeks earlier than did the Broward elections department, which only put up a sample ballot on its website in mid-October, way too late. Miami-Dade voters clearly had an advantage in familiarizing themselves with the issues they would face at the polls.
The top-of-the-ballot race between President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney is getting most of the attention. Yet there’s much more of importance to be decided: who goes to Congress; who sits in the state Legislature; who wears the judge’s robes; keeping the incumbent state attorneys in Miami-Dade and Broward. There’s a sheriff’s race in Broward and charter amendments in Miami-Dade, plus a smattering of municipal questions.
There’s also some disturbing mischief-making that has resulted in a longer ballot: Blame pesky, off-the-radar, write-in candidates who don’t have a chance of victory and are running against incumbents or primary winners with no opposing candidate from the other party.
Blame, too, state lawmakers who put 11 constitutional amendments on the ballot. The language is convoluted; and the issues addressed obviously political. Forbidding the Affordable Care Act from being enacted in Florida? This and other proposals, such as broadening homestead exemptions piecemeal instead of comprehensive reform, have no place in the state Constitution. Say No to them all.
Hey, it’ll save time at the ballot box.