When the polls closed at 7 p.m., about 1,000 people were still in line at South Kendall Community Church. Some three hours later, a few hundred still remained.
The church was one of about 10 high priority problem areas Obama campaign poll watchers warned the Department of Elections about. A memo to the county warned of places with no bathrooms, broken machines, or -- like South Kendall -- lots and lots of people.
Voter Norma Bonilla, 44, got in line at 6:45 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., she was still hundreds of people away from voting at South Kendall Community Church, at 16550 Southwest 147th Avenue, where the line snaked through the church driveway and out around the block.
"I'm going to try my best to wait," said Bonilla, a nurse who has to be at work by 6:15 a.m. on Wednesday.
Bonilla was told the wait could take up to four hours.
She tried to vote early on Saturday, but decided to come back on Tuesday because the line was too long.
"I said, 'Forget it, I'm not going to waste my Saturday,'" she said. "Now I just hope I'm not here longer than an hour and a half."
At the end of the line at the South Kendall Community Church, Andre Murias says he would wait as long as it took.
The 18-year-old first time voter got in line at exactly 7 p.m.
"We were surprised that it went around the neighborhood," Murias said of the long line.
Julian Montero, a poll watcher for the Obama campaign, was at the church since 6 a.m. He said he did six separate counts throughout the day and saw about 120 people get through per hour.
There were about 140 people in line as of 10:50 with about a 45 minute to hour long wait left to go.
ABSENTEE VOTING ENDS
Citing state law, Miami-Dade elections shut off absentee balloting a little after 7 p.m. tonight at the division’s headquarters in Doral. That followed a frantic scramble by poll workers to check in as many absentee ballots as they could from voters who were dropping them off.
"Run, lady!" one poll worker yelled at a woman of a certain age taking her time toward the front doors.
Election law requires all absentee ballots be in by seven, no matter if a voter happens to be waiting in line to drop it off. Throughout Tuesday, people went to election headquarters to pick up absentee ballots, fill them out, then drop them off. But for those who arrived after 6:30 pm Tuesday, time ran out before they got their ballots. About 30 people were turned away.
“I am so upset. You have no idea,” said a teary Linda Florez, 29. She works at a Doral bank but lives in Miami Lakes. She said she called the elections office, and that whoever answered the phone said she could get a ballot as long as she was in line by the time polls closed at 7.
Voters at their precincts can vote if they arrive by 7, no matter how long it takes. But absentee ballots must be in by 7, election officials said.
Before the cut-off, Flores said from her spot in line that she wanted to vote so she wouldn’t be "one of those people" who criticize without participating.
"I don’t want to be the one who is talking about the next president, and not to have cast a vote," she said.
The Miami-Dade Elections Department posted results for the absentee ballots that arrived prior to Tuesday. Among those absentee ballots already counted, Obama was winning by a wide margin.
LONGEST LINE EVER
The wait at the UTD Tower in Brickell exceeded six hours throughout the day. Even voters who arrived before the polls opened at 7 a.m. found themselves stuck in a seemingly endless line. At closing time, hundreds remained to cast their ballots.