Miami-Dade County Bd. of Elections

Miami-Dade shuts down in-person absentee voting after crowds line up outside

Miami-Dade voters request absentee ballots which can be filed the same day.

This sort of behavior by the county and state officials is a violation of Federal Law.  Intimidation and suppression tactics aimed at minorities who are simply trying to vote is enough to make civil rights icon MLK, Jr.’s legacy a mockery.   This is truly an injustice to everyone…

The Miami-Herald

So many voters showed up at the Miami-Dade elections headquarters in Doral to cast absentee ballots in person Sunday afternoon that the department shut down the operation less than two hours in, saying it did not have enough resources to help everyone.

In a confusing turn of events, the Miami-Dade elections department shut down early Sunday afternoon after too many people showed up to request and cast absentee ballots in person.

The department had opened its Doral headquarters from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. as a work-around to an early-voting crackdown law.

But by 2 p.m., around 180 voters had showed up, and department spokeswoman Christina White said the office would not be able to accommodate any more voters who showed up. Additional voters would be turned away, she said.

“We had the best of intentions to provide this service today,” she said. “We just can’t accommodate it to the degree that we would like to.”

Shortly after, however, the department locked its doors and shut down the operation without explanation. The people in line did not get to vote.

“Let us vote!” they shouted.

The department had only one ballot-printing machine, five voting booths and two staffers to assist voters Sunday.

“This is America, not a third-world country,” said Myrna Peralta, who waited in line with her 4-year-old grandson for nearly two hours before being turned away. “They should have been prepared.”

“My beautiful Sunshine State,” she lamented. “They’re not letting people vote.”

Tow trucks later began towing voters’ cars parked in a lot across the street from the elections department. “This is intimidation!” one voter yelled.

Miami-Dade had announced Sunday morning that it would allow voters to request, fill out and turn in absentee ballots on the spot for four hours in the afternoon after the Florida Democratic Party filed a lawsuit in the wee hours seeking to somehow extend voting in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties before Election Day.

A loophole in a state law that eliminated early voting the Sunday before Election Day allows elections supervisors to accept in-person absentee ballots through 7 p.m. Tuesday — including Sunday, at the elections supervisor’s discretion. Miami-Dade had planned to open Sunday only for voters to drop off absentee ballots.

It announced Sunday morning that it would also allow voters who had not previously requested absentee ballots to do so in person, fill them out on the spot and turn them in. Anyone still in line by 5 p.m would be allowed to cast their ballot, the department had initially said. The Doral office is located at 2700 NW 87th Ave.

Broward, which had not initially followed suit, said early Sunday afternoon it would also try to accommodate voters — but they will have to wait until voters who made appointments cast their ballots first.

Mary Cooney, a department spokeswoman, told The Miami Herald early Sunday afternoon that the department will try to accommodate voters who show up at a Lauderhill satellite office located at 1501 NW 40th Ave. (N. State Rd. 7/441). They will have to wait, however, behind around 100 voters who had called before Sunday to set up an appointment to pick up and fill out absentee ballots in person.

Broward is accepting new appointment requests for Monday at 954-712-1964 and 954-712-1974. And both the satellite office and the Fort Lauderdale main office, located at 115 S. Andrews Ave., Room 103, will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday to accept completed absentee ballots from voters who had already received them.

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