I was persistent; I went six times, said Sava, 66, of Sunny Isles Beach. But how many people gave up after one?
An Aventura police spokesman said officers have been instructed to direct voters to the overflow lot once the main lot is full which is often, because people doing city business also park there. City employees, Maj. William Skip Washa said, have been parking elsewhere.
Its been a nightmare, he said. Were doing the best that we possibly can.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Sally Heyman, a Democrat who represents Aventura, said a staffer has been busing voters from parking lots to the polls in a white county van labeled voter shuttle.
All in all, the people have been very nice about accepting that they have to wait, Heyman said.
But Haitian-American activists aired a list of grievances Wednesday about early-voting sites: not enough ballot-printing and scanning machines, no special lines for elderly and handicapped voters, a lack of enough Creole translators.
We believe these efforts to disenfranchise voters are not just biased but criminal, said Marleine Bastien of Haitian Women of Miami.
Jean-Robert Lafortune, chairman of the Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition, accused Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Penelope Townsley of ignoring initial requests for additional translators.
Townsleys office said 24 of 26 poll workers at the North Miami library, frequented by many Haitian-American voters, speak Creole. The other two speak Spanish, said Carolina Lopez, an elections department spokeswoman. Bastien disputed that the poll workers speak Creole.
Since the beginning of early voting, Lopez said, the elections department has added another 19 Creole speakers at the site, including four people to help guide voters and manage the line outside the library.
After Townsley spent all day at the North Miami site Tuesday, the city-run library provided an extra room for voters. The elections department then installed 24 more voting booths, three more optical ballot scanners, one more ballot-printing machine and another voter check-in station.
On Wednesday, County Commissioner Jean Monestime, a Democrat, emailed and thanked Republican Mayor Carlos Gimenezs administration for promptly responding in North Miami.
Lopez said another busy site, at the Coral Reef Library in Southwest Miami-Dade, also made more room Wednesday. The elections department plans to add 30 privacy booths, four optical ballot scanners and eight more poll workers there. At the North Dade Regional Library in Miami Gardens, the department will add two ballot scanners and seven more poll workers.
Poll workers at all voting sites have also been distributing water to people in line. Townsley cleared the move with Gimenez, who dropped by some sites himself over the weekend.
On Monday, the mayors office received three email complaints about the long lines. Among them was a letter signed by a host of Democrats and Democratic-leaning groups, including U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson of Miami Gardens, the AFL-CIO, NAACP and National Council of La Raza.
Gimenez blamed the lengthy waits on the lengthy ballots 10 pages for most Miami-Dade voters. Because voters dont cast ballots at their specific precincts during early voting, he noted, each ballot has to be personalized with the races and questions for that voter and then printed one-by-one. (The pages with statewide constitutional amendments have been pre-printed.)
Sometimes, voters are a little bit confused by some of the ballot items, Gimenez said. Some voters arent aware that they dont get to vote for every representative. Theres confusion there ... And we have a tremendous amount of voters that really want to vote.
The good news, he added: We have been having cool days.
Miami Herald staff writers Jacqueline Charles and Amy Sherman contributed to this report.