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Valley Public Radio Staff
Mon November 5, 2012
Chaos And A Bomb Scare Mar Early Voting In Florida
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 10:51 am
Let's hope what happened in Florida over the weekend is not a prelude to Election Day.
Just take what happened at a polling place in Miami-Dade County in South Florida: After early voting on Saturday was plagued by long lines — some voters waited up to six hours — officials decided to allow voters in one location to request and turn in absentee ballots.
Shortly after that polling place opened, it was shut down on directions from Republican Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
"But by then, around 180 people stood in line outside the elections office at 2700 NW 87th Ave. They shouted 'Let us vote!' and banged on the locked glass doors.
"'This is America, not a third-world country' said Myrna Peralta, who waited in line with her 4-year-old grandson for nearly two hours before the doors closed. 'They should have been prepared.'
"'My beautiful Sunshine State,' she lamented. 'They're not letting people vote.'"
Eventually the mayor, who said he had not been informed of plans to extend early voting, relented and the county allowed everyone who was in line by 5 p.m. ET. to cast their ballot.
In the Orlando area, one polling place was shutdown on Saturday after it received a bomb threat. Because of that, Orange County Elections Supervisor Bill Cowles ordered the site to reopen on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Reuters reports:
"The library was evacuated and voting there was suspended for four hours on Saturday because suspicious items were found on the grounds. A bomb squad safely detonated both - a cooler containing small electronics and what investigators described as a bag of miscellaneous garbage.
"Ballots cast at the library on Sunday will be held as provisional ballots in case of a successful challenge to the judge's ruling that allowed the voting to resume on Sunday."