Live Blog: Election 2012
8:12 am
Wed November 7, 2012

From South Florida's Polls To The Election Results: Get The Latest Here

8:27 Ballot Measure and Big Races

Here are some things that happened at the top and bottom of the ballot last night.

Poll workers had their jobs cut out for them on Election Day.
Credit Dan Grech

First, 8 of the 11 ballot measures failed this year.

Only three of these ballot measures passed:

  • Amendment 2:  Counties and municipalities will now have the option to offer an additional combat-related property tax exemption for totally or partially disabled veterans who were not Florida residents when they entered the military.
  • Amendment 9: Now, counties and municipalities will offer a total or partial property tax exemption to the spouses of military veterans or first responders who died in the line of duty.
  • Amendment 11:  After last night, counties and municipalities will have the option to offer an additional homestead tax exemption to low-income senior citizens on homes valued at less than $250,000.

The more controversial amendments (1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 and 12) all died, though.

  • Amendment 1: Would have added language to the state Constitution that says the state cannot force any person, employer or health care provider to participate in a health care system, but it didn't pass.
  • Amendment 3: The state will not be calculating taxes based on population growth and inflation.
  • Amendment 4: The state will not see more property tax rates for municipalities aimed at investors, second-home owners.
  • Amendment 5: The State Legislature will not be approving Supreme Court Justices.
  • Amendment 6: The state Constitution will continue to have an explicit right to privacy.
  • Amendment 8: A ban on the state's direct funding of religious institution will remain in the state Constitution.
  • Amendment 10: The state will not be giving out an additional tax exemption for seniors.
  • Amendment 12: The Florida Student Association will continue to serve as the student member of the Board of Governors of the State University System and the Board of Governors will not create a council of state university student body presidents.

Here are some of the big federal race results, too:

  • In the race for the U.S. Senate, Sen. Bill Nelson won his third term in office. He beat Connie Mack.
  • In the race for U.S. House District 22, Former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel beat Adam Hasner.
  • Joe Garcia ousted sitting congressman David Rivera, who has been embroiled in ethics scandals as of late.

12:00-- November 7, 2012

President Barack Obama wins his second term as president of the United States.

11:53 Waiting...

The Associated Press reports that Obama won his reelection. However, the New York Times has not.

In the meantime, Florida still isn't called and it might be many hours until all votes are counted.

This is coming from the Miami Herald:

11:27 Florida Might Not Be Called Tonight

Florida is still a tossup-- 95 percent of precincts are reporting and the race is slightly for Obama. Obama has 49.8 percent of the vote and Mitt Romney has 49.3 percent.

11:19 Is It Over?

AP reports: Obama wins Ohio, which some say may clinch the race. This big state pickup may poise the president for reelection.

10:59 Long Lines = Pizza Party

Take a look at what the City of Sweetwater did for voters standing in a long line!

10:45 Maria Sachs Poised To Win

The AP reports that Maria Sachs looks set to beat her colleague in the Florida Senate, Ellyn Bogdanoff, in a race for the newly drawn Florida Senate Seat 34. Right now her lead is 53-47, with 93 percent of the precincts reporting.

10:30 Joe Garcia Wins, Ballot Measures Die

Democrat Joe Garcia has beat incumbent David Rivera. Rivera has been engulfed by ethics scandals and faced off against Joe Garcia in his last election. 

Credit Kenny Malone /WLRN
Also, Amendments 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10 have all died. These ballot measures covered controversial subjects like abortion, "Obamacare", public funding of religious groups and the state Supreme Court.

10:08 Last Person in Brickell

A precinct in Brickell also had some characteristically long lines, but it looks like that just wrapped up.

Miami Herald reporter Patty Mazzei tweeted:

People are still in line in Country Walk, though.

Credit Laura Coburn
Credit Laura Coburn
Credit Laura Coburn

9:59 Ballot Measure Defeat

There is word that some amendments are dead in Florida.

The Associated Press reports that Amendments 1, 3, 5 and 6 are dead.

Those ballot measures focused on controversial subjects such as the health care law, abortion and the state Supreme Court.

9:51 House District 112

Florida House Seat 112 is leaning for the Democrat right now. Jose Javier Rodriguez is beating Alex Diaz de la Portilla 54-46, with 38 percent of the precincts reporting.

9:31 The Line That Won't End

WLRN and the Miami Herald are getting many reports that lines in Country Walk are one of the longest in the County.

There are some reports that at one point there were more than 1,000 people still waiting in line to vote.

8:51 Justices

The three State Supreme Court Justices that were facing a competitive merit retention vote this year look set to stay in their positions.

With 50 percent of the precincts reporting, State Supreme Court Justices Fred Lewis, Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince are getting more than 60 percent of the vote to keep their job. 

Credit Sarah Hartnig

8:40 Ballot Measures and Rivera

Here is a breakdown on what's happening in the Florida polls.

Ballot Measures

Those 11 confusing state Constitutional Amendments aren't fairing well-- that is expect for Amendments 2, 9, 11, which give tax relief to veterans and the spouses of people who die in combat.

These amendments need 60% of the vote to pass, but only those three are anywhere close to getting that support.

On a local level, Palm Beach's slot machine question is still a big question, but the Miami Dade School Board bond referendum is doing really well-- peaking at 78% support.

Embattled Congressman David Rivera is getting quite a challenge from challenger Joe Garcia.

Right now polls show Garcia winning this race 54-43.

8:05 Bill Nelson Wins

The Associated Press has called the Florida U.S. Senate race. Sen. Bill Nelson has defeated Connie Mack and will serve his third term.

7:58 Obama Swag

As dusk fell, a steady stream of cars pulled into a vacant lot at the intersection of NW 12th Ave and NW 54th Street.

Liberty City voters, like 62-year-old Betty Lee, proudly sported their “I Voted Today” stickers on their chests, post-balloting glows on their faces.

Lee is a school security guard and came to this intersection to buy a Barrack Obama T-shirt to wear to work tomorrow.

She bought it from an enterprising local t-shirt designer named Earl Quinn. Quinn set up his pop-up tent at this intersection, stringing the edges with a colorful array of t-shirts.

While it seemed like a lot of people were coming through, Quinn said it’s child’s play compared to 2008.

“Yeah I think it’s almost like the sports town here. Like if the Dolphins lose we don’t buy, if the Heat lose we don’t buy. If they win. It’s crazy. So if he wins, it’s going to be crazy. If he wins you need to come back. You might can’t even get a parking space.

Earl's T-shirts range from 10-15 and he sells flags for $10.

 

Credit Kenny Malone /Flickr
 

7:40 First Time Voter

Alise Casteel, 19, was the last voter to walk out of the African American Research Library precinct.

"I grew up around this neighborhood all my life so it's actually cool to vote somewhere when you know people around here," she said.

She is a first time voter and says some parts of the ballot were confusing.

"When it came down to the Supreme Court justices," she said.

But Casteel says she felt prepared and informed.

"I talked to my mom before I got to vote so she explained some things to me," Casteel said. "She said just make sure you just choose who you know will be fit for the category, so that's what I did."

 

Credit Sarah Gonzalez

7:27 First numbers

A little less than 200,000 votes are in and its 49.6% for Romney and 49.8% for Obama. No precincts are reporting. This is just the first wave of early votes.

7:10 Closing Time

The polls have closed. Numbers are going to be pouring in. The next few hours are going to be pretty intense here in Florida. You can check back here for updates.

6:53 Transferring votes

WLRN - Miami Herald Reporter Christine DiMattei is reporting from the embattled Palm Beach County elections office, which is currently overseeing a vote transfer from absentee ballots.

A large batch of absentee ballots a few weeks ago had an error, so a large group of people are now transferring votes from the defective ballots to the new ones.

DiMattei says this has to continue until they work through the 27,000 ballots that were printed incorrectly.

Here is a picture DiMattei took of everyone transferring the votes in the office. Until now, we have not seen a single picture of this.

 

Credit Christine DiMattei /WLRN
 

6:38 Double Take

New York Times reporter Lizette Alvarez tweeted that a predominately African American precinct was seeing a line that was 5 hours long. Most lines around Miami Dade have been at most 2 hours long. Five hours strikes most people here at WLRN as pretty long.

6:29 More Rides!

Maria Sachs is running for State Senator in district 34 against Ellyn Bogdanoff.

6:16 NYU Student Disenfranchised

An 18 year-old Miami Beach woman has been waiting – unsuccessfully-- for her absentee ballot in New York.

A series of mishaps is keeping Naomi Davis, a freshman at New York University, from voting in her first presidential election.

Davis says she applied months ago for an absentee ballot from the Miami-Dade Elections Office and found out two weeks ago the office had no record of her request.

Someone at the office took her address over the phone and promised to mail a ballot.

“I kept waiting for it in the mail and then my mail got suspended because of Hurricane Sandy for a week," Davis says. "Then I got all my mail today and I have no ballot.”

Davis found out, on Election Day, that her address was incorrectly entered into the computer. It was off by one digit. But that was enough to keep her from getting a ballot.

“I registered to vote on time. I applied for my absentee ballot. They typed in my address wrong. I need to vote, and basically everyone is just telling me that it’s not going to happen.”

Davis says she contacted a voting rights lawyer for help. But it looks like she won’t be able to vote this time around.

The Miami-Dade elections office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

6:08 Need A Ride?

FYI Everyone: The Obama Campaign is giving everyone (of any party) a ride to the polls if they need it.

Here is the number: (305) 965-9461

6:00 Stay Put

Credit digitalshaman/flickr

If you are getting to the polls within the next hour, you are not running late. 

If you get to a voting location-- even at 6:59 p.m. -- stay put. You are allowed to stand in that line until you cast a ballot. After 7 p.m., it's a different story.

5:55 p.m. Up All Night

It looks like it might be a long night, folks.

Throughout the day, polls have shown the fight for the presidency in Florida is getting tighter and tighter every minute.

We have been hearing Florida was one of the most important tossups in the election, but no expected it would be this close.

It's more than just a statistical dead heat, it's an all out tie.

Take a look at what political soothsayer Nate Silver has on his nifty election blog:

 

Credit Screengrab of fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com
Yeah, you saw that right. It's 49.8% to 49.8%. 

5:42 A Little Like Halloween

This little missive just came in from reporter Kenny Malone, who we've dispatched to the field:

Like Halloween, without the costumes.
Credit Kenny Malone

5:15 Election Day Happy Hour

For those of you who prefer to watch election results outside of your home, perhaps surrounded by like-minded people (or not), we've compiled a list of local debate parties, as well as restaurants and bars that plan on showing election coverage tonight.

And because South Florida bartenders love democracy, a lot of places are offering specials for people who show their voter registration cards or wear those "I Voted" stickers. 

4:30 p.m. Know Your Precinct-- Especially If You Move

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida tells us that a lot of people are being told to cast provisional ballots in the wrong precinct.

Voting provisionally should be a last measure for voting, because those ballots aren't always counted. They are especially not counted if they are cast in the wrong precinct.

Baylor Johnson, a spokesman for the ACLU of Florida, says this problem is mostly affecting people who have recently moved within the county.

"We are getting reports of people who have moved and haven't updated their address or going to the wrong precinct unknowingly, Johnson says. "They are being directed to cast a provisional ballot in the wrong precinct."

He says that if someone is in this situation, he or she should give election officials his or her most current address and election workers are supposed to send to your NEW precinct.

"Workers are supposed to direct them to the right precinct," Johnson says. "It's important to know your correct precinct."

Reports of these problems were reported to the ACLU and other voting rights groups through the Election Protection hotline.

Contact Election Protection at 1-866-OUR-VOTE if you experience any problems at the polls.

4:25 This Ballot Is Soooo Long!

Seven-year-old Julian Adelman examines a sample Florida ballot, while his parents wait to vote. His mom reports, "He was amazed at all of the words needed for an amendment."

Yeah, we know how you feel, kid.

There are 11 constitutional amendments on the ballot.
Credit Jeannette Estevez Adelman

At least it didn’t make him cry.

4:15 First Time Voting For An American President

Earlier this morning our social media editor Danny Rivero was checking out polling places in Wynwood, Allapattah and Little Haiti. The only one of the polls he visited that had any kind of real foot traffic was in Wynwood, where he met first-time American voter Olga Marcucci. 

Today, Venezuelan native Olga Marcucci (far left, purple shirt) voted for the first time in the U.S.
Credit Danny Rivero



She had a different perspective than others in the line, who were voicing frustration, and pacing around anxiously. The reason? She is a Venezuelan native who got her American citizenship about two years ago.

"Coming from Venezuela, I am (happy).  That's why I don't mind if I have to wait five hours or ten hours.  I'll vote," she said.

Even with lines four times longer than when she participated in the Venezuelan election last month with a trip to New Orleans, the only complaint that she has about this election is that the ballot is too long. "People might not even understand it correctly," she told us.

However, she assured us that she studied up on her sample ballot, and she is ready to go.

4:00 Instagram Not So Welcome At The Polls

In case you’re über excited about voting today and can’t wait to share your civic pride with all of your social networks, the Miami New Times would like to caution you against committing any crimes:

… as a friendly reminder, we'd just like to reiterate that it's totally illegal in Florida to record anything going on in a polling place.

As stated in Florida Statute 102.031, "No photography is permitted in the polling room or early voting area."

Read it and weep. Then tweet about it.

3:40 A Reason To Vote

While many are waiting hours to vote today in Miami-Dade, for some, voting is a breeze in parts of Broward.

Wait times of an hour or more had evaporated to virtually nothing by lunchtime, when Constance Ann-Getchoff arrived to vote, happy that she waited until election day, and didn't stand in line to early vote.

At Hollywood's First Baptist Church Tuesday morning when voting wait times were up to one hour.
Credit Phil Latzman

"When I saw the lines, I'm glad I didn't. But next time, if I'm still alive I will do the absentee ballot."  

Getchoff voted for President Barack Obama. Tony and Maria Zulim of Hollywood are Croatian immigrants who cast a rare vote in a Presidential election because they believe in Mitt Romney. 

"I voted (for the) second time in 40 years.  First one was Ronald Reagan, and second one is Romney. We don't want to go another four years suffering," says Tony Zulim. 

Maria, his wife of 39 years, agrees: "I wish Romney would win so we would head in a better direction."

By lunchtime at Hollywood's First Baptist Church, morning lines had virtually evaporated.
Credit Phil Latzman

As a result of a lawsuit settlement with the Florida Democratic Party yesterday, Broward voters who aren't able to make it to their regular polling location, can also request and cast their absentee ballots in-person at the county's election headquarters in Fort Lauderdale and Lauderhill until 7:00 p.m.

   

3:17 Doing It Right

Sure, Florida has a reputation for, um, getting a lot of things wrong when it comes to presidential elections.

But there are some things we do right:

Adam Beasley is a sports reporter for the Miami Herald.
Credit Twitter/@AdamHBeasley

2:34 First-Time Voter

Ellen Elias and her daughter, Raya Elias-Pushett, who voted for the first time today.
Credit Courtesy of Ellen Elias and Raya Elias-Pushett

Ellen Elias couldn’t help bragging about her daughter’s First Time Voter status to the other people in the Aventura Community Center voting line today.

“It was typically embarrassing, but it was okay,” says Raya Elias-Pushett.

Raya is 18 years old and a freshman at the University of Florida. She says she drove back home to vote on Election Day because it was important to her to experience it in person.

"A lot of my friends are like, 'Oh I just got an absentee ballot,' or, 'Oh I registered in Gainesville at my dorm address.' I'm like, 'Well, do you really care what's happening in Gainesville or do you care more about where your parents are paying taxes and where your siblings still are and everything?'” says Raya. “I went in, and I was second in line to receive the voter confirmation card and I saw my name on a paper and I went like, 'Yes!'"

Last week, Ellen wrote to us through the Public Insight Network to tell us about voting with her daughter:

“I am going to vote on Election Day. I love the excitement of voting on Election Day. The other reason that I will wait for Election Day is that my 18 year-old daughter, a virgin voter, is driving down from college so that we can be together on her first experience voting. We are obviously political junkies and I am proud to say that I raised an ethical 21st century citizen.”

2:20 The Persistent Voter: Pedro Wasserman Found It Easier to Vote in Iraq

Pedro Wasserman finally gets to cast his vote in Midtown Miami. He estimates that it has taken him about 18 hours over the past few days to vote.
Credit Danny Rivero

Pedro Wasserman reports that his voting experience "has not been positive" but he has been dogged in his voting efforts. 

Wasserman estimates that it took him about 18 hours to vote, between making sure he was registered to vote over the phone and waiting in lines at various locations.  WLRN-Miami Herald News social media editor Danny Rivero met Pedro Wasserman when Wasserman finally got to vote in Midtown Miami.

Wasserman found that the address on record at polling places was a Miami Beach location where he had not lived for fourteen years, even though he changed his address back in 1998.

Over the course of the past few days, Wasserman went to two different polling locations to see if he could cast his vote:

I had to go to two different locations. The lines were pretty atrocious. The downtown location took me only about an hour but the Doral location, which is where the main board of elections is, took me three-and-a-half hours.

He ended up being able to cast a provisional ballot at a polling place in Midtown Miami.

He was excited to finally get to cast his vote, but he was also frustrated that it took so much effort. Wasserman says that he served in the armed forces from 1998 to 2009. He feels:

It was much easier voting in such locations as Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia, Germany and Spain than it was to vote in South Florida this year. It's a disgrace, really.

2:06 Trouble At Madie Ives

WLRN has received several calls from both voters and volunteers at Madie Ives Elementary School, 20770 NE 14th Avenue in North Miami Beach, saying the wait time is extremely long -- and has been since the polls opened at 7:00 a.m.

 Ada Dixon, a United Teachers of Dade volunteer handing out Miami-Dade school referendum vote information, says people who are exiting have told her that the eight voting machines and two or three scanners are simply not enough to handle an estimated 500-person backlog. She says people are starting to feel the effects of standing in the sun with no water, so if you are planning on voting at Madie Ives, she advises to bring water with you.

1:59 Five Hours To Go

We're more than halfway through Election Day. 

If you still have questions about that tremendously long ballot, here is a roundup of resources to help you understand what your vote means:

1:47 And Now For Something Completely Different

We just got this email from Arianna Prothero, who is in the field at Miami City Hall:

Birds can't vote.
Credit Arianna Prothero

Apparently they're waiting in line, even if they can't vote.

Is voting for the birds?
Credit Arianna Prothero

1:35 The Persistent Voter

The Miami Herald's Doug Hanks sees people really making an effort to vote in Doral:

What I’m seeing is what I call ‘the Persistent Voter.’ These are people who came two days ago to get an absentee ballot, but the wait was four hours, so they gave up, or they came yesterday and they didn’t have the affidavit for a family member. So they’re back today, they’re picking up their ballots or they’re dropping them off.

And one woman in her 40's fresh off kidney surgery, showed up with her absentee ballot in one hand and a catheter bag in another.

One woman was on her third trip to the headquarters in three days to get ballots for her mother, who’s 85 and at home, and a son who has to work. She’s planning to make her fourth trip later today to drop them off. So people are really going through an effort to vote.

12:57 Voting Is A Family Affair

Flor Martin braids her daughter, Chloe's hair as the girl texts, while son, Julian, studies the sample ballot at Florida City Hall.
Credit Laura Coburn

Not everyone in the Martin Family is old enough to vote, but that isn’t keeping them away from the polls.

Flor Martin brought her children, including her  son Julian, to the polls at Florida City Hall to show them how the process works. Julian is 14 and will be eligible to vote in the next presidential election.

Martin didn't vote early because, "I wanted to bring them since there's no school.  He's going to be able to vote in the next election so I wanted him to see how the process goes."

12:45 The Puerto Rican Vote

There are reports that Hispanic voters in Orange County have received robocalls, telling them to vote tomorrow, November 7.

Orange County is home to a growing Puerto Rican population, which could decide the vote one way or another. Many are recent arrivals from the island, and first-time voters for a presidential election. The region is up for grabs in Florida—northern parts of the state tend to vote Republican, and the South Florida region tends to vote Democrat.

Earlier today, WLRN’s Danny Rivero visited a Puerto Rican enclave in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, and all of the Puerto Ricans he spoke to stated that they are voting Democrat.  The island does, however, have a Republican Governor, Luis Fortuño.

12:05 How To Entertain Yourself In Line

We’ve been hearing of a few long lines at South Florida voting places today. Nothing on the order of the early voting lines from the past week, but still, South Florida voters have some time to kill.

Jordan Shockett spent time studying during his three-hour wait to vote at the Normandy Isle public pools. He was just hired as a bartender at the new Bar Louie in Midtown.

Pictured here, his flash card on how to mix a mango limeade: 

Jordan Shockett is studying how to mix drinks for his new job.
Credit Jordan Shockett

Danny Prats, 25, spent an hour in line at the Miami Dade County Auditorium playing Galaga on his iPhone. “I was expecting, like a 3, 4 hour wait… I was in and out in an hour. I really impressed by that,” says Prats, who was hoping to set a high score. “I didn’t come close.”

Danny Prats was hoping for a high score.
Credit Danny Prats

Susie Bellimy and Gail Hyatt were proud of their polling place at Christ Episcopal Church in Coconut Grove: "This is the polling place to be. The church ladies are cooking conch fritters and fried fish and serving up soda. These are the real deal elderly Bahamian ladies that know the seasonings that young people don't know any more."

Susie Bellimy and her niece, Gail Hyatt, in Coconut Grove.
Credit Arianna Prothero

11:45 How To Vote If You Don’t Have An ID

A few of our audience members have reached out to us on Facebook and Twitter to report being told they cannot vote if they do not have voter ID. In South Florida, you may vote without ID but you must request a provisional ballot.

According to the feedback we are getting, overwhelmed poll workers are not always offering the provisional ballot, so go ahead and request it. You will be asked to sign an affidavit that you are who you say you are.

The New York Times warns that provisional ballots are likely to be a source of post election lawsuits:

One issue that is likely to lead to lawsuits after Election Day is that of provisional ballots. Under federal law, anyone whose identity or voting precinct is in doubt can ask for a provisional ballot at any polling station and then has a number of days to return with the required documentation to make that vote count.

Because there are thousands of voting rolls and precincts in the country, and because Americans move and often fail to register their new addresses, such problems are common. Poll workers may also fail to direct a voter to the right precinct — there can be multiple voting precincts in the same voting hall — or fail to fully check that a provisional ballot has been filled out properly.

Make sure that you get your provisional ballot receipt so that you can track the status of your ballot. Monroe County residents can call to track provisional ballots. Miami-Dade and Broward County have online ballot trackers.

11:11 If You Can’t Vote, Try A Provisional Ballot

If you find yourself without your voter identification card this morning, you should still be able to cast a provisional ballot.
Credit Twitter/@Slictor

Victor Caneva of Tamarac reported to us on Twitter that he was unable to vote at his polling place this morning. Caneva did not have his voter registration card with him because he couldn't find it. A poll worker was unable to find him in the system after looking for about half an hour.

"After about half an hour her being on the phone, she tells me I can't vote and I look her in the eye and tell her 'I'm not walking out of this building without voting. At that point, she called someone over, handed him a provisional ballot, and told him, 'Have him fill out this provisional ballot, but it's not gonna count; he's wasting both your time and mine.'"

The poll worker did not make a suggestion to fill out the provisional ballot until Canevas requested it. He says there were about three poll workers overwhelmed by a line going around the block at the Tamarac polling place.

Caneva filled out his provisional ballot along with an affidavit.

Afterward, a poll watcher asked Caneva what happened and took down his information. Caneva registered to vote in Florida after recently moving back to the state. He previously lived in New York and Texas.

The poll watcher's comment to Caneva: "Welcome back to FLorida."

Caneva showed up at 6:00 a.m. with his cousin to vote before work. The latest records the poll worker could find were from when Caneva voted in Gainesville as a college student.

"When I get home from work, I need to go home and do some research to make sure that my vote got counted, which is kind of absurd. I would understand if it was at a last minute thing, and I made sure that I registered way ahead of time because I know that I just moved here and I know how much of a pain Florida can be and how it can all get screwed up..."

Caneva was left with a worried feeling: "I know how close this election is going to be and how important every vote in Florida is and to even have the thought that my vote isn't going to count is a little unsettling."

If you find yourself without your voter identification card this morning, you should still be able to cast a provisional ballot.

10:54 Absentee Ballots Rejected

For the South Florida voters casting absentee ballots in person today: don’t forget to sign them.

David Smiley at the Miami Herald reports hundreds of absentee ballots have already been rejected by Broward County because they do not have signatures on them:

About 700 absentee ballots have been rejected already in Broward County, according to an elections spokeswoman.

… Voters in Miami-Dade and Broward counties can still turn in absentee ballots at elections headquarters in Doral and downtown Fort Lauderdale. But the ballots won’t be accepted by a canvassing board without a signature.

10:22 Swing State Life

Sure, the deluge of political ads can get tiring. But there are benefits to being a swing state voter: the candidates constantly come to woo, pollsters desperately try to understand  what we worry about, national media outlets shower us with attention. And, perhaps most flattering, our votes are powerful.

To that end, NPR’s Barbara Bradley Haggerty has a fascinating analysis of how the campaigns think about the swing states:

Florida29 electoral votes; Real Clear Politics average, Romney up 1.5 percentage points.

Florida is a must-win for Romney. The state has three political identities: The south, including Miami, is diverse and, with the exception of an aging and shrinking Cuban population, leans heavily Democratic. The north, including the Panhandle, is socially and religiously conservative, with a strong military presence. People in the central part of the state — the Tampa-Orlando-Daytona Beach-I-4 corridor — are the definition of swing voters.

9:57 Manners, Manners

Sometimes, it’s the little gestures that make or break our patience.

We got some Facebook feedback about basic civility in the voting lines:

Mind your manners in line.
Credit facebook.com

What helps you keep your sanity in line?

9:31 Palm Beach Ballots

Oh, Palm Beach.

We just saw this tweet from Bill DiPaolo of the Palm Beach Post:

@billdipaolo

About 30 voters from Lost Tree Village are still waiting to vote at PBSC. The wrong precinct number was printed on the ballot. #pbelex

Palm Beach is world-renown for its election woes. Literally.

During a good will trip to Japan this past February, Delray Beach Mayor Woodie McDuffie met the Mayor of Kyoto. Upon hearing that McDuffie was from Palm Beach County, the Japanese official said through a translator, “That’s where people can’t count.”

Ouch.

9:05 Dispatch From The Field

Since early voting started a little more than a week ago, we’ve been hearing about monstrously long lines at the polls.

We’re happy to report this morning that while yes, there are already some long lines around South Florida, there are also some polling places where voters can walk right up and cast a ballot.

Sarah Gonzalez sent us this picture from Miami Beach Senior High, where there are no lines: 

No lines at Miami Beach Senior High
Credit Sarah Gonzalez

8:42 Getting Busted Crossing The “Solicitation Boundary”

Just after talking to reporter Arianna Prothero, we saw a series of Hundred Foot Rule tweets from Miami Herald reporter Nadege Green.

Nadege Green
Credit twitter/@NadegeGreen

According to Green, one person who crossed the 100-foot line was a campaign worker for President Barack Obama. Another was from PICO. One person handed out something entitled "Frederica Wilson's Guide to the Election," and yet another person gave out promotional material for Judge Andrea Wilson. 

One campaign worker told Green, "You do first and ask forgiveness later." 

If you feel uncomfortable or intimidated by anything at the polls, Here’s what the Miami-Dade County elections folks recommend:

Tell a poll worker right away. If the poll worker is the problem, call the Supervisor of Elections at 305-499-VOTE, or tell a poll watcher.  If you are intimidated inside of the polling room, tell a poll worker immediately. If you are intimidated outside of the polling building within the 100 ft. solicitation boundary, tell the poll deputy. If you are intimidated by a poll worker, call the Elections Department at 305-499-VOTE.

8:23 The Hundred Foot Rule

Arianna Prothero is out in the field right now at Trinity Cathedral in downtown Miami. She reports seeing a small skirmish over where people are campaigning:

There were a couple of men in red, Audrey Edmonson t-shirts handing out flyers to people in line. A downtown Miami woman was walking her fluffy, maltese-looking grayish dog past the line of voters. She started scolding the campaigners for being too close, saying you have to be a hundred feet from the end of the line. The campaigners said they were wear they should be. The woman left, saying, “shame on you.”

For the record, campaigning is not allowed within 100 feet of the polls—not the end of the line. So if you have a long line, expect to get a few flyers thrust your way.

A campaigner for Audrey Edmonson outside Trinity Cathedral in Downtown Miami.
Credit Arianna Prothero

7:56 Are There Enough Ballots?

We just saw this tweet from Miami Herald political reporter and frequent Florida Roundup guest Marc Caputo:

Marc Caputo@MarcACaputo

It's starting to sound as if Miami-Dade has not pre-printed enough ballots or doesn't have enough booths in some precincts

Let us know if you see issues at your polling place.  

7:41 Dispatch From The Field

Miami Herald reporter Doug Hanks called in to tell us about the first person in line as Miami-Dade Election

Carlos Almeida was the first person in line.
Credit Doug Hanks

Headquarters in Doral opened at 7 A.M.:

Carlos Almeida, a 19-year old sushi chef, was the first in line ahead of the 120 to 130 people waiting outside. He rode his bike over to the polling place at 3:30 a.m. because he didn’t want to stand around. "The lines last night were until 12 and I just recovered from a broken leg," he said.

Almeida said that seeing the long lines at the Miami-Dade Election Headquarters last night motivated him to get up early. Last night, early voting was officially over, but voters were waiting in line to turn in absentee ballots.

7:15

Even before the sun was up there was a crowd of people outside St. Stephen’s Church in Pompano Beach to vote.

WLRN's Christine DiMattei -- in line to vote herself -- overheard some folks trading horror stories about trying to absentee or early vote: “I just spoke to one lady who said that she was turned away at one of the Broward County polling places when she tried to put through her absentee ballot yesterday."

About 4.5 million Floridians have already voted early or by absentee ballot.

In Miami-Dade County this weekend, there was a kerfuffle over extended hours to cast absentee ballots. Elections officials extended hours to Sunday, but Mayor Carlos Gimenez asked them to close it down. The waiting crowd stuck around and protested. Eventually, the site was re-opened.

A subsequent lawsuit from the Florida Democratic Party led to extended hours in Broward and Palm Beach, too.

6:59

Good morning, South Florida—and welcome to Election Day.

Throughout the day, we’ll be bringing you updates on what’s happening at the polls, how the election is unfolding in South Florida, where to go for voting resources, who’s doing eleventh-hour campaigning, and, later, what the results of today’s elections are as they come in.

Voters are already in line outside St Stephen's Lutheran Church in Pompano Beach.
Credit Christine DiMattei / WLRN

The voting booths officially open in South Florida at 7:00 a.m. If you still have questions about that tremendously long ballot, here is a roundup of resources to help you understand what your vote means:

So bookmark this page and check in with us as we bring you the latest updates.