Early Voting
1:04 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Miami-Dade Early Voting Lines Are Long, But They Could Be Worse

All week, early voters have been grumbling about the hours-long lines as they cast ballots before the deadline for the presidential election on Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m.    

Miami-Dade, in particular, has only 20 available early voting locations for the county’s 1.28 million registered voters. In other words: the ratio of voters to early polling places is about 64,000:1.

Granted, these voters won’t be there all at the same time, but it’s still a daunting number.

At the Kendall Branch Library, first-time voter, Juan Lanfranco, says he has already been to two Miami-Dade County voting locations.

“The first location that I went to the line was also big. So, I thought this one might be shorter. They’re similar,” he says.

He says he’s voting early “to avoid long lines and I find myself in a long line.”

Lengthy Ballots Lead To Lengthy Lines

Experts and advocates say lengthy ballots are one of the main culprits for these interminable lines. This year’s ballots in Florida are historically long.

In Miami-Dade, many voters have to fill out five pages front and back.

All 11 proposed changes to the state Constitution were put on Florida’s ballot by state lawmakers. They exempted themselves from word-limits on the ballot measures, which led to pages full of constitutional amendments.

Voters are now struggling to get through these lengthy and confusingly-worded amendments, which is why they are taking so much time at their voting booths.

At the West Dade Regional Library, early voter Cristina Loreto stands close to the end of the line, which wraps around the side of the building and out to the parking lot. The line slowly trudges forward as voters eventually vanish around the corner.

Loreto shares her concern while she waits for her turn to vote.

“Honestly, I feel like it’s gonna be packed by November 6, and I just want to make sure that my vote is in on time,” she says.

Cristina’s college-mate, Andrew Withers, stands patiently alongside her in line.

He says early voters have an advantage during the elections.

“They don’t have to worry about showing up on one day and not risk voting,” Wither says.

64,000:1 Could Be Worse

The estimated 64,000 voters per early voting site in the county may seem like an enormous number, but other counties actually have it worse.

In fact, comparing the number of registered voters to available voting locations, Miami-Dade is only the fourth worst-off in the numbers that we crunched.

Here’s a list of voter-to-early-polling-place ratios for ten prominent counties within Florida:

  1. Lee County                       77, 685
  2. Broward County:            71, 440
  3. Orange County:               69, 064
  4. Miami-Dade:                    64, 066
  5. Palm Beach County:     62, 126
  6. Hillsborough County:  50, 039
  7. Leon County                   38, 114
  8. Duval County:                  32, 914
  9. Collier County               25, 794
  10. Monroe County:            10, 366

Early voting ends for Florida on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m.