MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A new report looking at the massive problems that plagued voters in Miami-Dade County on Election Day laid some of the blame on the county’s election department.
There were a number of contributing factors that created a perfect storm of problems for voters on Election Day. Among the biggest problems were a cut in the number of early voting days prescribed by the state legislature, 10-12 page ballots, and many other problems.
The ballots were the longest in county history thanks to the state legislature’s decision to include the full text of 11 state constitutional amendments on the ballot. In Miami-Dade County, 10 county charter questions also lengthened the ballot and how much time would be required for each voter to make it through the ballot.
The report said the county should have opened more early-voting sites, but the county decided to stick with just 20 sites which were made up of elections offices, city halls, and public libraries, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald.
Miami-Dade County elections officials weren’t prepared for the onslaught of absentee ballots this year according to the report. Elections officials received more than 55,000 absentee ballots on Election Day and the day before, which took longer to process due to signature verification.
In addition, nearly 100 seasonal workers assigned to open ballots simply didn’t show up for work and the machine that sorted ballots broke down for half a day on Election Day, according to the Herald.
The report, according to the Herald, also faulted the county for not using electronic registries and not reprecincting, which is typically done when redistricting is completed once every decade.
The report recommended major changes including opening more early-voting sites, replacing the single absentee ballot-sorting machine with two m achiness and purchasing electronic voter registries.
However, the costs of just those three items could push $3 million and in a time of unprecedented budget problems, finding the money to complete nearly any government task will require cuts elsewhere to make up for the costs.
According to the Herald, the report found that 24 polls closed after midnight, but in 18 of those sites, voters weren’t still voting, poll workers just took longer to notify the elections department they were closed.
The final vote cast on Election Day 2012 was at Eureka Villas Park in SW Miami-Dade County after 1 a.m. the following day.