Some Counties Still Counting Ballots
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While Miami-Dade County saw some of the longest lines to vote in the state, the County finished counting its ballots Thursday as other large counties like Palm Beach and Broward continue to try to tally the final vote.
It took Miami-Dade County roughly 41 hours of non-stop counting after the polls officially closed Tuesday to finish counting every vote. Miami-Dade County drew national attention for its six hour waits to vote and not being able to finish counting the vote on Tuesday.
Miami-Dade Elections Supervisor Penelope Townsley said the delay was due in part to a lengthy ballot put in place by the Republican-led Florida Legislature. Other problems with Florida’s elections included not enough poll workers, not enough scanning machines, and a surge of absentee ballots.
Still, county officials were proud of the overall operation.
“Generally, I think Miami-Dade conducted a very good election,” said Townsley. “Am I embarrassed and disappointed by some of the things that happened? Absolutely.”
The League of Women voters sued in an attempt to overturn the newly enacted state law that slashed early voting from 14 days to eight, which was sold as a way to prevent voter fraud. Many voters said those cuts led to long lines and the delayed ballot count.
“This is what we said was going to happen,” said Maribel Balbin of the League of Women Voters.
Townsley said the county elections department will likely ask the Florida Legislature to make some changes to the elections process ahead of the 2014 midterm elections.
Voters who had to give up nearly an entire day to cast their ballot said something has to give. They’re also sick and tired of the Sunshine State being the punch line for national jokes.
“I know we do have 67 counties in our state and that we are a huge state, but I find it unacceptable,” voter Ivonne Arias told CBS4’s Natalia Zea.
David Martin, who voted early, agrees. “Them still counting is crazy. You’ve got a lot of people waiting in lines..frustrated, hungry and things like that and here it is they haven’t counted all the votes.”
Still voters like Alain Cueto are optimistic.
“It’s a little disappointing but I guess we’ll get it right in the future. I’m pretty confident we’re gonna get it right.”
Governor Rick Scott and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said they would look into the issues that plagued the 2012 election process for voters. Mayor Gimenez has established a task force.
With 97 percent of the vote counted in the state, President Barack Obama has claimed victory of the states’ 29 Electoral College votes. Governor Mitt Romney’s campaign admitted Thursday to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald that it had lost Florida.
Florida’s electoral problems didn’t produce a repeat of the 2000 presidential election because President Obama secured enough Electoral College votes, even without Florida, to win re-election.