Citing long lines, a former Miami Beach state senator, the Florida Democratic Party and the League of Women Voters of Florida urged Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday to extend early voting.
But don’t expect the effort to go anywhere.
Top Republican officials in Tallahassee said Thursday an extension isn’t needed. And in Miami-Dade, the county with the longest lines, the office of Mayor Carlos Gimenez, a Republican who appoints the elections supervisor, said he has no plans to ask the governor for more time.
The likely result: more long lines for early voters and long lines for Election Day voters on Tuesday.
Other early glitches have been reported, too. Some Broward voters have seen delays in receiving their absentee ballots; the county elections supervisor’s office says every voter who has reported a missing ballot has been mailed another one.
One Broward voter encountered an unexpected wrinkle: She was purged from the voting rolls because she hadn’t voted in so long and because she didn’t respond to certified mail that warned her she would be removed because she had been so inactive, according to the elections office.
But the focus remained on in-person early voting, where voters are still facing three-hour waits at some Miami-Dade polling sites.
More than 3 million Floridians had voted early or by mail through Wednesday evening. Democrats lead in early voting, while Republicans hold the edge in absentee voting.
Between the first day of early voting Saturday and Wednesday, Broward averaged more than 28,400 voters a day. Miami-Dade averaged more than 26,300.
Among the early voters Thursday was Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, who drew a crowd when he cast his ballot at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center in downtown Miami.
But he didn’t have to wait in the hour-long line. He had a proxy stand in his stead, as allowed under election rules.
Former state Sen. Dan Gelber, a Democrat who lost a bid for attorney general two years ago, asked Scott on Thursday to expand the early-voting period, which ends at 7 p.m. Saturday, to include Sunday.
“In parts of Florida many citizens — including veterans and seniors — have had to wait for as many as 5 hours to simply express the most fundamental right guaranteed to them in a democracy,” Gelber wrote in the letter Thursday morning.
Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith echoed Gelber’s request in a statement soon after. And Deirdre Macnab, president of the League of Women Voters, sent Scott a letter Thursday afternoon asking him to allow Sunday voting in counties with “high voter traffic.”
The delays, Macnab wrote, have resulted “from an increase in the number of registered voters since 2008, reductions in the number of days available to early vote and the unprecedented length of this year’s ballot...” The Miami-Dade ballot is 10 pages long.
Scott signed a state law last year reducing the number of early-voting days to eight from 14 and doing away with early voting on the Sunday before Election Day. The new law guarantees a Sunday of early voting and allows for up to 12 hours of early voting a day, for a total of 96 hours. Miami-Dade is already meeting that cap.
Before the League weighed in, Republicans pushed back against what they described as a partisan attack by Democrats, who tend to vote early in higher numbers than the GOP, which prefers voting by mail using absentee ballots.