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Election Day Outlook: Biting the Ballot

September 26, 2012

I’m talking here about the experience of voting, not who’s going to win.  It’s shaping up as one of those Florida stories that make the state a laughing stock.

This will be my first time voting in Florida in a presidential election year, so I know what it was like last time only by what I’ve read or what other people have told me.  What I have heard is that in many places the lines were incredibly long, and the waiting time to cast a ballot could be well over an hour.

Well, it looks like this time it may be even worse.  I was just watching Rachel Maddow who did a segment on voting in Florida.  (Will post the link to the video when it’s available.   Here’s the link.)  She held up a sample 2012 ballot for Tampa, which she pointed out was six legal-size pages long.  Then she noted that the ballot in Miami-Dade will be even longer:  10 pages!

If you’re a registered voter in Miami-Dade, you can download a sample ballot here.  If you’d like to avoid ballot shock, I suggest you do just that.

The main reasons the ballot is so long are:  1)  There are twelve proposed constitutional amendments which are not summarized, but printed in their entirety,  2)  There are a number of local questions peculiar to your county of residence, 3) There are all those judicial elections, and 4) Everything is printed in three languages:  English, Spanish, and Kreyol.

Now imagine how long it will take a voter seeing this ballot for the first time just to read the thing.  Then to try to figure out what the proposed amendments actually mean.  Then to mark the ballot and put it into the scanner.  This is not going to be a quick process, and it is very likely to make the lines extremely long and slow-moving.

BTW, if you want a guide to what the amendments mean and whether they have any merit, I would strongly recommend reading this post on Discourse.net.  Or this one on Critical MiamiEye on Miami says vote “no” on all of them–he’s probably right.

Now if I were a suspicious person, I might think that cluttering up the ballot with all those constitutional amendments (the content of most of which has no business being in the state constitution) is a very clever means of voter suppression.  Why?  Because the longer people have to stand in line, the more likely they are just to say “Fuck it” and leave.

So what’s a voter to do?

Well, there’s early voting, but that has been cut back severely from last time, so that this year there are only eight days of early voting, from October 27 thru November 3.  Which means that you’re likely to encounter major delays when you go to the early voting locations as well.  [For the schedule and locations, click here.]    Again, this is part of the Republicans’ strategy of vote suppression.

So, if you don’t want to deal with that either, or can’t be here on those days, then you’re left with absentee ballots.  Yes, the notorious absentee ballots.  If you want to chance that—or if you don’t have a friendly boletera to fill one out for you—you can request a ballot online, by phone, or in person until the end of October.  For more information, click here.

Just don’t let the bastards wear you down.  VOTE!

A Post-Script:  Paul Ryan and “Stench”

This has nothing to do with the foregoing post, but it was just too irresistible.

According to Politico, an influential slightly right-leaning inside-the-beltway publication that covers, duh, Washington politics,  the Romney campaign has become such a clusterfuck that Paul Ryan reportedly “has been marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, ‘If Stench calls, take a message’ and ‘Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.’

“Stench”, of course, refers to the man who picked Ryan as his VP running mate.

Read the whole story here.

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