Early Voting Hours Likely Won’t Be Extended for Election

Gov. Rick Scott and Miami-Dade County officials are already vowing not to extend voting hours on Election Day. (Photo by Gage Skidmore.)

During the 2008 Election, Florida’s then governor, Charlie Crist, extended early voting hours because large cities including Miami faced unprecedentedly long lines — but it looks like Gov. Rick Scott and local officials in Miami-Dade County won’t follow in Crist’s footsteps.

The Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times reports,

Citing long lines, a former Miami Beach state senator, the Florida Democratic Party and the League of Women Voters of Florida urged Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday to extend early voting.

But don’t expect the effort to go anywhere.

Top Republican officials in Tallahassee said Thursday an extension isn’t needed. And in Miami-Dade, the county with the longest lines, the office of Mayor Carlos Gimenez, a Republican who appoints the elections supervisor, said he has no plans to ask the governor for more time.

The likely result: more long lines for early voters and long lines for Election Day voters on Tuesday.

Already Miami-Dade County, a Democratic-leaning area, has seen early voting waits peeking at four hours for the past several days.

Millions of people have already voted by absentee ballots and early voting, but there are still millions more left to vote all over the state.

Add to that: counties such as Palm Beach have had a series of problems with absentee ballots, which has led a lot of voters to ditch absentee for in-person voting.

There is also the added fact that Floridians all over the state are facing a historically long ballot this year. State lawmakers put 11 long, confusingly worded amendments on the ballot, which have tripped up voters and made lines even longer.

In short, everyone is expecting that officials in counties including Miami-Dade will have to extend early voting hours  — especially considering that early voting days were cut this year statewide. However, already officials are saying the hours will not be changed.

Just remember, under Florida law, voters who get in line at the polling station before it closes (at 7 p.m. in most places) — even if at the last minute — must be allowed to vote.

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