2012 Elections: News, Analysis, Videos, and Breaking on the Presidential Election, Local Elections, and More

2012 Elections: News, Analysis, Videos, and Breaking on the Presidential Election, Local Elections, and More

Complete coverage of the 2012 election

Remedies for Election Problems Outlined in Miami-Dade Report

A newly released report by the county makes several recommendations to solve the problems faced by the Elections Department during the 2012 general election.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Aerial footage of the line of people in voting in Brickell. (Published Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012)

    The hours-long waits faced by thousands of voters last month in Miami-Dade County shouldn’t ever have to happen again.

    Now, a report newly released by the county makes many recommendations to overcome the challenges faced by the Elections Department during the 2012 general election.

    Miami-Dade Elections Department's Headquarters Met With Steady Flow of Voters Tuesday

    [MI] Miami-Dade Elections Department's Headquarters Met With Steady Flow of Voters Tuesday
    The Miami-Dade Elections Department in Doral was met with a steady flow of voters on Election Day. Employees were busy tabulating absentee ballots, and officials told NBC 6 South Florida they expected the day to run smoothly. First-time voter Roshawn Gourdet said that his teachers encouraged him to participate. (Published Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012)

    The 53-page report says the county could have done more to determine how long it takes to fill out a multi-page ballot. And it says the county “without a doubt” would have benefited from more early voting sites.

    “As is true with every election, important lessons were learned and improvements will be made in the best interest of our voters,” Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Penelope Townsley wrote in the report.

    Miami-Dade Elections Department Spokeswoman Discusses Counting Absentee Ballots

    [MI] Miami-Dade Elections Department Spokeswoman Discusses Counting Absentee Ballots
    Miami-Dade Elections Department spokeswoman Carolina Lopez talks about counting the final 500 absentee ballots in the county. (Published Thursday, Nov 8, 2012)

    South Florida Voters Stood in Line Hours After Polls Closed

    Some key factors and recommendations provided in the report:

    -- It took poll workers time to comb through precinct registry paperwork “to look up the voter” before having the voter sign in. The county considers this an inefficient way of logging in voters on Election Day. Recommendation: Miami-Dade should research and buy electronic voter registries to speed up Election Day check-ins.

    -- The time it took voters to fill out the lengthy ballot should have been “further analyzed” by the county before the election. Recommendation: Before the next election, work with multiple divisions to better gauge “how long it takes to cast a ballot.”

    -- The length of a multi-page ballot helped increase voter wait times. Recommendation: The county should push state legislators to limit state constitutional amendments to “the same 75-word restriction that other ballot language must adhere to.”

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    -- More early voting sites were needed. “Without a doubt, more early voting sites would have helped to reduce the time voters waited in line,” the report said. “However, the need for additional early voting sites was not contemplated.” Recommendation: Open additional early voting locations and have staff and equipment that is proportional with the size of an election.

    -- The state’s reduction of early voting days from 14 to eight, which caused an “unanticipated surge” in voters to vote absentee or on Election Day. Recommendation: The county should push for early voting to be extended to nine days to include the Sunday before Election Day.

    --The elections department dealt with a record number of absentee ballots. Recommendation: Find technology that could improve the handling of absentee ballots, such as automated signature verification software. The county also should increase staff and stay in touch with county representatives at the U.S. Postal Service “to ensure swift and successful ballot delivery.”

    VIDEO: Aerial Footage of People Waiting in Line to Vote in Brickell

    The report says Miami-Dade had the largest number of voters to cast ballots in this year’s election, when compared to other counties in Florida, the report said.

    With 1,313,850 registered voters, the county had a nearly 68 percent overall turnout percentage, or 888,033 total votes cast.