Reporting David Sutta
MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) — One look at Miami-Dade’s ballot and everything seems normal.
Look closer, though, and you will notice it is double-sided and goes on and on…and on.
In addition to presidential elections, the ballot includes congressional seats, judges, council members, 11 constitutional amendments, 11 county questions, and one school board bond question. It’s the longest ballot in Miami-Dade’s history.
“There is a lot of stuff here,” noted Miami-Dade voter Peter Rojas when he saw the ballot Friday.
We handed the ballot to Lola Thomas; she reacted the same way. “If a person sees it for the first time in the ballot box they are going to take a long time to read it and they may not understand it,” Thomas said.
The Miami-Dade Elections Department expects the time it takes voters to weed through the long ballot to add to November’s perfect storm. “The last presidential election turnout was over 70%, so that coupled with a long ballot there will be lines,” said Elections Spokesperson Christina White.
It is not just lines though that voters should be concerned about. A few amendments they will be asked to vote on may be important.
The Sony Open on Key Biscayne is asking voters to extend their lease. In return they will drop $50 million to build brand new facilities for Crandon Park. How much is this going to cost taxpayers? “Nothing. It’s all being generated from tournament revenues,” Sony Open Tournament Director Adam Barrett told CBS4.
The question needs a ‘yes’ vote from 67% of voters. But what if no one votes?
Barrett pointed out: “It is buried well deep into the amendments. It’s after the presidential. It’s after the judges. It’s after Congress. It’s after 10 state amendments.”
It’s a valid concern, as Rojas voiced after reviewing the ballot. “I probably wouldn’t be able to get through it all,” he said.
Not voting doesn’t count against any particular amendment. However that means those who do take the time to answer the question will have greater impact on the results.
Thomas, who was ordering an absentee ballot for her mother when we came across her, decided she too now will vote absentee. The ballot is too much to handle on Election Day. “I suggest everyone get an absentee ballot so they have time to read it and make an informed decision,” Thomas said.
With such a long ballot, you have two options to avoid long lines: 1) print out a sample ballot from the elections website and bring it with you to the polls, or 2) order an absentee ballot. You can do that through the end of October.
To see your ballot, visit http://www.miamidade.gov/elections/regist-status.asp.