Americans like to brag about American exceptionalism. But when the greatest country in the world makes voting an endurance battle and struggle, that's the sort of exceptionalism you'd think we'd avoid.
I'm talking about Florida. And Ohio. Both states run by Republican governors and important in tomorrow's election. Early voting in Florida is proving to be a nightmare, and GOP Governor Scott is pretending he cares.
"Early voting is supposed to make it easier for people to carry out their constitutional right. Tuesdays are notoriously inconvenient to take off work, so many states have given voters the option of turning out on weekends or other weekdays in the run-up to Election Day.
But in Florida this year, it has been a nightmare for voters, who have faced record wait times, long lines in the sun and a Republican governor, Rick Scott, who has refused to budge and extend early voting hours.
"We're looking at an election meltdown that is eerily similar to 2000, minus the hanging chads," said Dan Smith, a political science professor at the University of Florida.
Miami-Dade attempted to deal with the problem on Sunday by allowing voters to cast absentee ballots in person between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m. However, after just two hours, the Miami-Dade elections department shut down the location after too many people showed up. People outside the locked doors were reportedly screaming, "We want to vote!"
"They didn't have the infrastructure," filmmaker Lucas Leyva, who was among those turned away, told The Huffington Post's Janie Campbell. "We read the press release and everything that went out this morning, promising we'd be able to get absentee ballots and vote. We got here and there was a line of hundreds of people all being told the same thing, that that wasn't true anymore. You could drop off [a ballot], but they could not issue one."
And if getting turned away from the polls weren't enough of an indignity, some of those 180 people ended up getting their cars towed from the parking lot across the street, according to a Miami Herald reporter.
On Twitter, former Republican governor Charlie Crist -- who is now an independent -- responded to news of the office's closing, writing on Twitter, "Let the people vote!"--HuffPost
A last-minute directive issued by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) could invalidate legal provisional ballots. Ohio is widely viewed as the most critical state for both presidential campaigns and — with some polls showing a close race — the 11th-hour move could swing the entire election.
The directive, issued Friday, lays out the requirements for submitting a provisional ballot. The directive includes a form which puts the burden on the voter to correctly record the form of ID provided to election officials. Husted also instructed election officials that if the form is not filled out correctly by a voter, the ballot should not be counted. --HuffPost Oct. 24 court hearing.”
Indeed, it also appears directly contrary to Ohio law. From the lawsuit:
Ohio Rev. Code § 3505.181(B)(6) provides that, once a voter casting a provisional ballot proffers identification, “the appropriate local election official shall record the type of identification provided, the social security number information, the fact that the affirmation was executed, or the fact that the individual declined to execute such an affirmation and include that information with the transmission of the ballot . . . .” (Emphasis added.)The law “ensures that any questions regarding a voter’s identification are resolved on the spot or, consistent with due process, the voter is informed that he or she needs to provide additional information to the board of elections. This protects the integrity of the voting process, and provides a reasonable opportunity to resolve deficiencies.”
The last-minute directive changes this and switches the burden to the voter, greatly increasing the chances that legal provisional ballots will be discarded." --ThinkProgress
There's something rotten in Florida and Ohio.
Why the lines are so long in Florida and Ohio
Think about this when you prepare to vote:
Even now, many Republicans are assembling teams to intimidate voters at polling places, to demand photo ID where none is required, and to cast doubt on voting machines or counting systems whose results do not go their way.
OY! It's not just Florida and Ohio: