Local Leaders Reacts To Florida’s Election Embarrassment

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Early Voters (Source: CBS4)

Early Voters (Source: CBS4)

Gary-Nelson-600x450 Gary Nelson
Gary Nelson has been a member of the CBS4 News team since Septem...
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campaign 2012 new2 Local Leaders Reacts To Floridas Election Embarrassment

MIAMI (CBS4) – A headline in Thursday’s New York Magazine:  “Florida Still Figuring Out That Whole ‘Election’ Thing.”


Miami-Dade Commissioners gathered for the first time Thursday after the election day and night debacle that saw thousands of voters wait long hours in line, many not casting their ballots until after the presidential election had already been called for President Obama.

“What happened with the elections in Miami-Dade County was ridiculous,” said Commissioner Rebecca Sosa, as she looked at the unflattering New York Magazine headline on a reporter’s Blackberry.

“There’s no reason to be where we are, and we need to do a a complete analysis and investigation of what went wrong,” Sosa told CBS4’s Gary Nelson.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez has created a task force to investigate – Sosa is a member – and the mayor continues to offer apologies to the many people who were made miserable at a a handful of the counties more than 500 precincts.

“I have to apologize to those people.  That’s inexcusable, something that we’re not going to tolerate,” Gimenez said.

But some said sorry isn’t good enough for the sorry election performance on Tuesday.

“We’re a laughing stock,” said Commission Chairman Joe Martinez.

“These things cannot continue to happen,” Martinez said.  “We had them in 2008, the long lines and everything else, so we knew what was coming with this election.”

Asked if Elections Supervisor Penelope Townsley should be dismissed in the wake of the Tuesday foul-ups, Martinez said, “We have a strong mayor, and the mayor names the elections supervisor, so he should answer that question.”

When asked if he might ask for Townsley’s resignation, Gimenez didn’t say yes, but he didn’t say no.

“There could be some grave consequences, but I’m not going to do a knee jerk reaction, that’s not the way I operate,” Gimenez told Nelson.  I’ll find out what happened first, and then I’ll take action.”

As Florida and Miami-Dade continue to make national news over Tuesdays election glitches, some have made it a national joke.  The Florida vote played no part in deciding the outcome in the presidential race.

“After this election, we’re no longer just a laughing stock,” Miami filmmaker Billy Corben told the New York Times.  “We’re an irrelevant laughing stock.”

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