Though voters’ mood was generally mellow, some early-voting sites had a party-like atmosphere. At West Kendall, a Colombian chiva bus, with its traditional bright colors and open roof rack, transported a small band of drummers, and a DJ played music — think “Gangnam Style” — before police officers told him to stop because there were complaints. The bus and DJ were campaigning for Obama.
At the North Miami Public Library, where the line wrapped around the entire property and some voters waited up to six hours, Smith Joseph, running for city mayor, had giant speakers on the back of a black pick-up truck blasting upbeat kompa music. Some people danced.
Frederick Hyppolite, 46, who arrived with his wife and four children at 7 a.m., didn’t make it inside the library until 2 p.m. He had tried to vote Friday, he said, but was turned away because of a misprint on his driver’s license. He spent Friday evening at the Department of Motor Vehicles fixing the mistake.
“This is obviously something that I care about,” he said. “The president needs our support.”
But not everyone who made it to a line Saturday stayed.
At the West Dade Regional Library, 59-year-old Rolando Gutierrez, who was next-to-last in line at around 2 p.m., told the woman behind him, 45-year-old Maria Corro, that he was thinking of leaving to avoid the three- or four-hour wait.
“Maybe it will be less,” said Corro, a nurse who had been dropped off by her husband. She had brought along her 11-year-old daughter, Sofia, who sat on a bench doing homework. “You have to think positive.”
But a few minutes later, Gutierrez walked away.
“I don’t have a choice,” said Gutierrez, who works the night shift loading trucks for UPS. “I have to sleep.”
He said he plans to go to his precinct on Tuesday, to vote for Obama, whom he voted for four years ago.
“Maybe on the 6th, at my own polling place, it won’t be like this,” he said. “This is outrageous.”
Miami Herald Executive Editor Aminda Marqués González and political writer Marc Caputo contributed to this report.