Police Called to Little Havana Polling Site As Hundreds Still Waiting Around Miami To Vote
An Election Day that started with voting lines up to six or seven hours long at some sites around Miami is ending, appropriately enough, with hundreds of voters still waiting to cast their ballots more than an hour after polls have closed.
Tensions have boiled over at a Little Havana fire station, where Romney supporters called police after accusing an Obama campaigner of holding a spot in line for a late voter. By 8:30, at least 200 people were still waiting to cast ballots at the site.
The scuffle broke out at the fire house at SW 22nd Avenue and Third Street, after Romney supporters like Catalina Rodriguez say they spotted the line switcheroo. Rodriguez claims the Obama worker held the end of the line after 7 pm, then traded his spot to a late Obama supporter.
"That's not right," Rodriguez said.
The Obama voter, who didn't give his name, denied that, saying he'd arrived moments before the 7 p.m. shutoff. Either way, police arrived moments later, and were interviewing the Romney supporters (and frankly, looking a bit befuddled by the whole thing.)
The firehouse isn't the only place with long lines well after polls have closed down. At least 300 are waiting to vote at Goulds Church of Christ in South Dade, according to Miami Herald reporter Patricia Mazzei's Twitter. Another 200-plus are at a youth center in Sweetwater, she reports.
There's little doubt at this point that -- by any definition -- voting in South Florida has been a debacle today.
And there's little doubt who's to blame: As the Herald's Marc Caputo writes, the blame goes to the legislature -- which tacked on ten lengthy constitutional amendments; Gov. Rick Scott -- who cut down early voting days by a third and then refused requests to extend them when it was evident how high turnout would become; and Miami-Dade's Elections Department, which left many precincts short on voting machines and campaign staff.
The line at the fire station stretched down the block and around the corner. People were still waiting to vote at 9 p.m.
Michael E. Miller
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