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Miami-Dade Delays Re-Precincting Until 2015

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida made national headlines in 2012 where massive lines fouled up the Presidential election yet again. Lines were so long voters were casting ballots even after President Barrack Obama had been re-elected.

In the end it was determined a long ballot combined with massive turnout led to the mess. Politicians pledged to fix it.

Peter Celin, a voter, waited four hours to cast his ballot.

“They always promise. Promises and promises. But I don’t know. I don’t see anything done,” Celin said.

Miami-Dade County proposed re-precincting or balancing out the polls. While some spots saw roughly a hundred voters all day, others had 5,000. It’s something counties are supposed to do every 10 years.

Broward did it last year.

Miami-Dade was planning to do it this year, but suddenly just agreed to wait another year.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez explained, “We don’t want mass confusion on the day of the election.”

The last time Miami-Dade re-precinct was 2003. It’s overdue but Mayor Gimenez and a bipartisan committee agreed to delay another year after realizing 55 percent of Miami-Dade voters would be affected. That’s almost a million voters changing where they vote.

“The last thing you want to do is really alienate voters, disenfranchise voters by having them change a location without notice. And at the same time bring in new technology to the polling place. I think the much more prudent things to do is do one thing at a time.” Mayor Gimenez said.

What Miami-Dade Elections is doing this year is speeding up the check in process. Hundreds of new touchscreen check-in devices arrived this week. Gone will be that big book of registered voter names.

One swipe of your driver’s license and a signature will sign you in seamlessly.

Antonio Mendez a Miami-Dade voter likes the idea.

“If you don’t have to make those big lines. I’m all for it,” he said. Celin agreed, “Oh it’s more faster.”

There may be some pains though as poll workers for more than 800 sites learn to use the new systems.

Florida also has a history when it comes to implementing new technology.

When asked if he was concerned Mayor Gimenez responded, “There is always glitches with new technology. The good thing about this technology is it’s not new. It’s new to Miami-Dade County, but it’s not new.

Miami-Dade elections plans to roll these out the touchscreen check in machines for upcoming smaller elections. The hope is to get all the kinks out before that big Presidential election in 2016.

On Friday Gimenez released a statement saying, “After receiving feedback from Miami-Dade County political party leaders, and conferring with Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa, a discussion item on re-precincting will be added at the February 19th Board of County Commissioners meeting. This will provide members of the public and local political party representatives the opportunity to express any concerns they may have to the full Board. It is of utmost importance that every Miami-Dade County voter be confident about our electoral system.”

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