Politics
2:03 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Confusion Among Miami-Dade Voters On Election Day

Election Day At The Absentee Ballot Box In Miami

Voters cast their absentee ballots at the Elections Headquarters in Doral on election day.
Credit Deborah Acosta / The Miami Herald / WLRN

South Floridians were still in lines voting on Tuesday evening when Barack Obama was re-elected as president of the United States. Many locals expressed disappointment in the leadership of Miami-Dade's office of elections, especially after the incident that occurred last Sunday, when the Elections Department Headquarters in the City of Doral shut down for an hour and tried to turn 200 voters away from the poll.

That polling place was one of only two Miami-Dade locations accepting absentee ballots on election day when things went much more smoothly, except for one thing: many voters didn't realize that they needed a signed affidavit in order to drop off their loved one's absentee ballots.  

Claudine Pierre of Miami Lakes holds her husband's absentee ballot at the Elections Headquarters in Doral on election day.
Credit Deborah Acosta / The Miami Herald / WLRN

"I have to have an affidavit," said Claudine Pierre, a Haitian-American woman from Miami Lakes who was there to drop off her husband's ballot. "I didn't know about it, I wish someone would have said something on the news, you know."

Thankfully, Claudine's husband was able to make it before the poll closed. Kaya Freeman of Coral Gables, couldn't say the same.

"I don't know if he's going to get his ballot in, unfortunately," she said, holding her husband's ballot after casting hers.

Marta Flor, a Cuban-American woman who's lived in Miami for 13 years, also tried to cast her husband's ballot without an affidavit. Despite his busy day, she called and made him go to the poll to vote.

"He has to come," she said.

Marta Flor, right, waits for her husband to cast his ballot at the Elections Headquarters in Doral on election day.
Credit Deborah Acosta / The Miami Herald / WLRN

Compared to some other polling places around Miami-Dade, this poll had very short lines. Despite that, people complained. Shlomo Cohen, an 83-year-old Israeli-American who voted for Obama, was annoyed.

"They cheated me, they said I can submit absentee ballot in Miami Lakes, I go there, they say: No, you have to go to Doral! Why can’t I submit this in Miami Lakes? What is the idea behind it? It’s just to make things difficult for the voters. That’s all," he said.

On the other side of the building people were lined up to pick up absentee ballots. Cuban-born Mark Perez was among them. He voted early for Mitt Romney, and was there to pick up an absentee ballot for his mother, who's 93 years old.

Shlomo Cohen, an Israeli-American from Miami Lakes, stands in line to cast his absentee ballot in favor of Barack Obama at the Elections Headquarters in Doral on election day.
Credit Deborah Acosta / The Miami Herald / WLRN

"Wonderful to see people out here exercising their right," said Perez, who works in finance. "A lot of people who are here in this area come from other countries. They know what it’s like to not have that right. So that’s why it’s so important to see this turnout."