Miami-Dade Voters Back at Elections Department Monday | NBC 6 South Florida
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Miami-Dade Voters Back at Elections Department Monday
A day after frustrations nearly boiled over in Doral, absentee voting resumes
BY Betty Yu, Hank Tester, Brian Hamacher and Jawan Strader

Some voters were still waiting to cast their absentee ballots at the Miami-Dade Elections Department's headquarters in Doral late Monday night.

William Lopez thought it would only take a couple of hours to vote, but it took him almost seven and a half in all.

“They knew that it was going to take time and that they were going to have a big turnout. I think they should have prepared better,” he said.

Still, things ran a little more smoothly at the Elections Department Monday, a day after absentee ballot frustration nearly boiled over.

Miami-Dade Voters Back at Elections Department Monday

Miami-Dade Voters Back at Elections Department Monday

Miami-Dade Voters Back at Elections Department Monday

Some voters showed up before dawn to cast their absentee ballots and try to beat the long lines. At about 11 a.m., the average wait time was around two hours.

On Sunday, a last-minute decision to open the headquarters for people to request an absentee ballot and turn it in on the spot attracted more people than the elections department could handle.

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Not to mention that Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez wasn't informed of the opening.

"The mayor was not informed of this decision until Sunday, he asked that we suspend the operation until he was fully briefed," Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Penelope Townsley said at a news conference Monday. "At the same time, we were experiencing operational difficulties including not enough resources."

The headquarters were temporarily closed and opened up about an hour later as angry voters shouted "Let us vote!" and banged on the doors.

Officials said they were eventually able to process 420 voters on Sunday.

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Voters who showed up Monday said there was still plenty of confusion.

"Right now there's two lines and you don't know what the two lines are for. One's supposed to drop the ballot off, the other one is to pick up the ballot but nobody explains that to you, we figure out ourselves over here," Raul Rogers said. "It's kind of disorganized."

"I just couldn't stand for three or four hours due to my back ache, so I decided that I needed an absentee ballot, that it took forever to reach us, but it did," Pilar Cueto said.

Absentee ballots must be turned in no later than 7 p.m. Tuesday, when the polls close.

"I tried voting on Saturday, but the lines were like eight hours," said Fernando Villamil.

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The last person in line Monday, Giancarlo Federico, knew he was in for a long night, but didn’t mind.

“Whatever it takes. I don’t mind staying late. This is my vote that is going to count, and that’s my right as an American citizen,” he said.

Lopez said voting was absolutely worth it.

“I voted, I get on my plane tomorrow, and I know that nobody deprived me of voting. So I’m very happy that I cast my vote,” he said.

If there's any concern that your absentee ballot hasn't been received, voters should head to their polling place Tuesday to confirm, Deputy Supervisor of Elections Christina White said.

"If you're nervous that we didn't receive your ballot by the deadline, you show up at your precinct, our poll workers are gonna know that we did mail you a ballot and they're gonna call elections headquarters to find out if we have received it," White said. "If we have received that ballot, we'll tell you that at the time, if we have not, then we're gonna go ahead and cancel that absentee ballot here at the department and allow you to vote. So when that ballot does come in, it won't be counted because it will have been canceled in the meantime."

Visit the Miami-Dade Elections Department here.