Early voting continues Wednesday at 10 a.m. (FL)
South Florida Sun-Sentinel. October 21, 2008. By Sallie James and Scott Wyman
Lines up to 3½ hours long continued to plague early voting across Broward County on Tuesday, leading elections officials to scramble to find ways to cut the wait and ease frustration.
More voting booths were added at the 17 early voting locations. Chairs were provided for the elderly. Anticipated wait times will be made public twice a day. Those in line will be reminded they can still request a ballot to vote by mail if they don't want to wait.
More than 11,000 people cast ballots Monday. That's three times the number recorded on the first day of early voting in 2006, and as many as voted during the first two days of early voting in 2004.
While some voters complained about the waits and gave up, others said they were so determined to vote that they didn't care about the time.
Early voting will continue Wednesday beginning at 10 a.m. and will run through the Sunday before the Nov. 4 election. About 80 percent of Broward's 1 million registered voters are expected to turn out, with about a third of them voting either at one of the early-voting locations or through mail-in absentee ballots.
Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes said she added as many extra voting booths as possible at early voting sites to address one of the key reasons for the delay - the amount of time voters are spending reviewing the lengthy ballot. However, the other main bottleneck - printing ballots - remains. Snipes said no more printers are available anywhere in the country.
Hy and Laura Steinberg of Tamarac were among those who wanted to vote early but decided against it because of the lines. They are debating between trying again or waiting for Election Day.
"People are being disenfranchised: working people, stay-at-home mothers, the elderly, people with young children," Laura Steinberg said.
Scott Wyman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4511.