a bad decision
The idea was to keep as many voters as possible in their familiar polling station, but Gimenez acknowledged it backfired. It looks like that was a bad decision, at least in those precincts, he said.
The county, as in years past, had a troubleshooting team ready to dispatch to polling places with both technical and administrative glitches, said Deputy Mayor Alina Hudak, who oversees the elections department. Trucks with backup equipment from machines to pens are deployed regionally.
In 2008, the county had 1,538 ballot scanners. This year it had 1,788.
Though it was late, Gimenez ordered 13 additional poll workers, along with more privacy booths, for the Brickell site to help ease the line.
White acknowledged that elections officials were acutely aware of the interminable waits during early voting over the course of eight days, Oct. 27-Nov. 3. She said Townsley, the elections supervisor, ordered more poll workers, privacy booths and scanning machines for this election compared with 2008.
White said Townsley also shifted resources during Election Day. We were trouble-shooting throughout the day, she said.
Gimenez also fought back against much of the criticism, noting that several other counties had significant lines, too.
This is not a Third World country, he said, firing back at that characterization. Your vote counts.
Phillis Oeters, chairwoman of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, said the business group also plans to launch a task force to improve the voting process, widely viewed as an embarrassment for a county that sometimes struggles to be seen as a top-tier corporate location.
I think its time for the business community to say, This is no longer acceptable, said Oeters, vice president of government relations for the Baptist Hospital system.
There were lines, tardy results, machine malfunctions, power outages and apologetic elections supervisors in other counties as well. In Fort Myers, for instance, Lee County Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington broke into tears as she apologized for the delays, which she blamed on an exceptionally long ballot. Orange County also experienced long delays.
Though the states voting problems didnt wind up affecting the presidential race, as they did in 2000, the long lines still drew national attention because of Floridas influential status with 29 electoral votes. During his victory speech in Chicago, President Barack Obama thanked voters who waited in line for a very long time,
By the way, he added, we have to fix that.
Miami Herald staff writers Charles Rabin, Scott Hiaasen, Amy Sherman, Alexandra Leon, Douglas Hanks and Herald/Times reporter Michael Van Sickler contributed to this report.