MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The November’s Election Day has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean ballots still aren’t being counted.
About 10,000 absentee ballots were still being counted Wednesday night.
When asked what lessons she’s learned, Supervisor of Elections Penelope Townsley said: “Staffing, equipment, there are many lessons, that can be taken away from this election.”
Miami-Dade County election workers are still counting absentee ballots, but with all precincts reporting in with their totals it appears President Obama easily won Miami-Dade County.
It’s no surprise that it took so long to tally all the votes. The last voter cast their ballot at midnight and the final precinct reported to the county at 1:30 a.m. The county reported their final precinct totals to the state around 3 a.m.
Election workers scrambled to collect absentee ballots just before 7 p.m. deadline at Miami-Dade Elections Headquarters. Because it was not a precinct, the law required them to stop accepting ballots at seven on the dot even though a long line of people were waiting to vote absentee in person.
Deputy Supervisor of Elections Christina White said they are very optimistic that they will be finished counting the absentee ballots by Wednesday afternoon.
“There are many steps in reviewing an absentee ballot. It begins with putting it through our automated system. It goes through an extensive signature verification process and then the canvassing board may need to review those ballots as well as opening them and finally putting them through our tabulators,” said White.
White said once they finish with the absentee ballots, they will then begin counting the provisional ballots which will probably happen on Thursday and Friday.
The election department updates the state every 30 minutes on the result of their absentee ballot count.
White said the perception on social media that Miami-Dade County can’t do it right is a misconception. She said with 829 precincts, they are the largest county in the state with the most precincts.
“All in all our precincts ran very smoothly. Yes, we did have lines, and in some cases very long lines, we understand that and we will be reviewing that after the election as we typically do to see what improvements can be made,” said White. “In terms of absentee ballots, it’s simply the length of the ballot. The volume of absentee ballots that have come in, it grows in popularity one election after the other. In addition to the number of pages that we have to process, that’s why we are still reading, it’s not due to any issues at all, it’s just volume driven.”
Presidential elections usually see a voter turnout of around 70 to 75 percent. White said voter turnout in the county was about 65 percent.
White said election workers are working around the clock to complete the counting and tabulation process. While it may seem unusual to still be counting ballots into the end of the week, White said it’s a due to the size and volume of the ballots received and not the results of any problems or glitches.