From Miami Haitians to a Harvard student from Broward, voting early in South Florida be it by mail or in person is proving troublesome.
Some voters have yet to receive absentee ballots they requested weeks ago from Broward Countys elections office. Long lines have plagued several early voting sites, especially in Hollywood and Miramar.
In Miami-Dade, the lines have been even longer. Wait times range from 30 minutes to six hours. The North Miami library has had such long waits that Haitian-American advocates held a news conference Wednesday to protest the disenfranchisement.
In Aventura, police officers waved away potential voters who couldnt find parking spots. A county commissioner resorted to enlisting a staffer, to shuttle voters by van from distant parking lots to the polls.
And Miami Gardens had such long lines that former Gov. Charlie Crist, a President Obama campaign proxy, appeared and urged his successor, Gov. Rick Scott, to extend the length of early voting hours countywide. Crist did that in 2008, helping Obama win Florida.
You cannot believe the line out here right now, its phenomenal, Crist said. Of extending the number of early-voting hours or days, Crist said: Its just the right thing to do.
Scott, a supporter of Republican Mitt Romney, probably wont extend in-person early voting, which ends Saturday night.
We think that the hours we have right now are the best hours weve ever had, said Chris Cate, a spokesman for Floridas elections division, part of Scotts administration.
Scott signed a law last year cutting early voting days from 14 to eight and eliminated early voting on the Sunday before Election Day, when heavily Democratic African-American voters held souls to the polls rallies, though the law guaranteed a Sunday of early voting. The law caps access at 12 hours daily, and a cumulative total of 96 hours. In 2008, voters had a cumulative 120 hours thanks to Crists executive order.
In general, Democrats favor early voting, and Republicans favor voting absentee.
Out-of-state voters are having problems, too, in getting their absentee ballots.
Olivia Plana of Pompano Beach, a student at Harvard College, requested her ballot before Sept. 30. Broward Supervisor of Election Brenda Snipes office said a ballot was mailed on Oct. 9 and again on Oct. 26. Neither had arrived as of Wednesday.
Plana said she told the office that if she does not receive the ballot by Thursday, she will pay to have it sent to her overnight via FedEx at her own expense.
If I have to pay, Ill pay, said Plana, a 19-year-old voting in her first presidential election. I dont think I should have to pay to vote.
Broward GOP Chairman Richard DeNapoli said he has received dozens of emails or calls from voters who have had problems getting their ballots.
Evelyn Perez-Verdia, a spokeswoman for Snipes, said the office does not track complaints from voters who requested absentee ballots but did not receive them. About 300 ballots have been returned as undeliverable, she said in an email.
Meantime, Palm Beach County is grappling with printing glitches involving 27,500 absentee ballots.
In Miami-Dade, Lumi Sava said she tried to vote six times at the Aventura Government Center but was turned away five times by police officers because the parking lot was full.