Florida still doesn’t know how to vote
Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2012 07:11
Florida has once again earned its much-deserved notoriety as the bratty sibling who chooses to act up at the wrong time, every time.
One would think that a decade after the state was brandished as the “hanging chad” state, the moody child that both candidates vetted so heavily in hopes of currying favor would get it right on the one day in every four years that it actually counts.
But counting isn’t really Florida’s thing, it appears.
Wednesday, President Barack Obama went back to the Oval Office for meetings, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney returned to his home state to enjoy fancy breakfasts with some of his biggest benefactors, but more than 24 hours after Obama had been declared the winner of the election, Florida remains the only state in the nation still counting its votes, only to be branded as the state that can’t vote.
New York and New Jersey, states that were plundered just days before Election Day by Hurricane Sandy, were able to get their acts together.
The mayor of Miami-Dade, the county in which voters stood in line for up to seven hours and were voting long after the polls on the West Coast had closed and long after the president had been re-elected, said he would call on Gov. Rick Scott and other legislators to extend early voting hours and shrink ballots.
But according to a USA Today article, more blame should be placed on Florida’s entire election process than specifics such as ballots or voting times.
Unlike in most states where those manning the elections are trained professionals who learn how to operate elections, the article states that most Supervisors of Elections are elected officials themselves.
What a novel concept: people who specialize in elections could run elections.
According to the Miami Herald, many of the long lines were because of inadequate staffing, equipment and poor planning. Think two polling booths for lines of up to 1,000 people.
But the problem with the voting fiasco is not just embarrassing — it’s frightening.
Florida, a state with 29 electoral votes that just days ago was the trophy each candidate tried to fit in his pocket, has so quickly grown irrelevant. More than 19 million voices were no longer important anymore.
If Florida hopes to maintain its importance as a state that holds a place in national politics, it needs to be able to come through on Election Day.