Reporting Natalia Zea
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Voters lined up before dawn across Miami-Dade to cast their ballots on Election Day.
There are 829 polling stations across the county will be open until 7 p.m.
Election officials said with more polling places open on Election Day then there were during the early voting period last week, the lines and wait times should be shorter.
Tuesday morning Ken Detzner, Secretary of Florida’s Department of State, said election supervisors from across the state reported that there were no excessive lines. He pointed out in Miami-Dade at 8 a.m., he was told there were only about 50 people in line at county’s election headquarters in Doral which is normal for an election.
A presidential election always leads to a high turnout. That turnout was quite evident in early voting and absentee ballot voting. More than 447,000 voters have already cast ballots during Early Voting and via absentee ballot in Miami-Dade, which represents a 35 percent voter turnout so far.
Meanwhile, at Miami-Dade election headquarters in Doral, election workers were busy prepping to count ballots:
Back at the polls, some voters waited in line for hours to cast their ballots, while others were in and out in not time.
Luis Pardo said Tuesday afternoon he didn’t have to wait all that long.
“About 25 minutes, so not too long, not too long today,” said Pardo.
Pardo said he watched the news last week and saw the long lines so he didn’t know what to expect on Election Day.
“I was a little bit pessimistic about that, I was like “aww, but I’m still going to go out there and vote because my voice really matters’, everyone’s voice matters,” said Pardo.
The wait time seemed to depend on the time of day and voting location. Nikki Marcelo said she got lucky when she went to vote at the Hialeah Fire Station #2.
“Not even 15 minutes,” said Marcelo. “It was very easy, it was very organized and it was very nice.”
But it wasn’t that way earlier in the day.
Some voters said their wait time would have been much faster if it were more organized and if all the machines were working properly.
Jacqueline and Caroline Corrales were thrilled they got to vote in this presidential election. They’re not as thrilled about the process.
“It could have been smoother,” said Jaqueline Corrales.
Paul Onate was also delayed by poll workers.
“Too many people not knowing what’s going on, it’s a little disorganized,” Onate told.
He said they put him in the wrong line and didn’t figure it out for 45 minutes. Then, he said, the ballot scanning machine kept malfunctioning.
“They had to reset the unit a couple of times which makes it an inconvenience,” said Onate.
He added that he’s worried that his vote may not have gone through properly.
“Two hours of waiting in line so I want to make sure my vote counts,” said Onate.
Other voters said they had a relatively smooth voting experience. It took Eddie De La Pena only about an hour to vote.
“There was only one person in front of me, I waited for him to scan it and when you scan it, it takes less than two minutes to scan. It’s great,” said De La Pena.
Pablo Nunez, the fifth person to arrive at the fire station to vote, said this wasn’t his initial plan.
“I was going to go and vote early during the weekend but everybody saw the huge lines and the back up that there was, so I wasn’t able to do so,” said Nunez.
Some voters said they planned all along to wait until Election Day to vote because with more polling stations open the lines would be shorter.
Miami-Dade’s elections department said they have 200 more machines this year than they did for the 2008 elections.
If you haven’t done your homework, it might take you a while to cast your ballot because it’s really long. For most Miami-Dade voters, the ballot is 10 pages long (five pages printed front-and-back). The ballot is 12 pages long in Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay and North Bay Village.
Absentee ballots will continue to be accepted in person until 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday at the Elections Department, 2700 NW 87th Avenue in Doral, and at the Voter Information Center in the Stephen P. Clark Center, 111 NW 1st Street in Downtown Miami.
Voters who plan to vote in person on Tuesday should keep in mind these points:
Voters must vote at their assigned polling place listed on their voter information card. Any voter who is unsure of where to vote should go to the Elections Department website or call 3-1-1.
Voters must provide identification that contains both a photo and signature in order to vote. Acceptable forms of ID include driver’s license (or ID card issued by a Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles), United States passport, employee badge, military or student ID card, buyer’s club ID card, and retirement center or neighborhood association ID card. If the picture identification does not contain a signature, an additional identification with a signature will be required. While the Voter Information Card is not required to vote, it can help expedite the check-in process, so bringing it is always encouraged.
Voting at polling places continues until 7:00 p.m. today. In the event of lines at polling places, any eligible voter who is in line at 7:00 p.m. will be allowed to vote.
You can check out the latest election news and polling results from CBS4 and CBSMiami.com on Twitter using the hashtag #cbs4vote.