Florida Dems sue state government on early voting

Some voters are reportedly waiting seven hours for their chance to vote


Alex Halperin
November 5, 2012 2:01AM (UTC)

This election's getting litigious fast.

Ohio isn’t the only battleground where Democrats see their voting rights being curtailed. The Florida Democratic Party filed a federal lawsuit Sunday to extend early voting hours in the quintessential swing state, the New York Times reports.

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The lawsuit followed a stream of complaints from voters who sometimes waited nearly seven hours to vote or who did not vote at all because they could not wait for hours to do so.

Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, local election supervisors in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties, where queues sometimes snaked out the door and around buildings, said they would allow voters to request and cast absentee ballots on Sunday. Voters in three other Florida counties also will be able to pick up and drop off absentee ballots. State election law permits election offices to receive absentee ballots through Tuesday so long as they are cast in person.

But later on Sunday, Miami-Dade’s county election supervisor closed down the line for absentee ballots at its Doral office after two hours because too many people showed up.

Republican governor Rick Scott said on Thursday that the voting process is going smoothly.

Last year, Mr. Scott and the Republican-controlled State Legislature pushed through a measure to cut early voting from 14 to 8 days and do away with voting on the final Sunday before Election Day. Because more Democrats cast their ballots early than Republicans, the move was viewed by Democrats as an effort to blunt Democratic turnout.

After another lawsuit, the Times reports that voting hours were extended at a polling place in Orlando’s Orange County due to a suspicious package.


Alex Halperin

Alex Halperin is news editor at Salon. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhalperin.

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