Despite a claim from
Grover Norquist Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez that “This is not a Third World country”, his intentionally small government has now entered into its third day of attempting to count ballots from Tuesday’s general election. While Miami-Dadistan is by no means the only jurisdiction where the election overwhelmed the resources on hand, it still stands out as the biggest example of the impact of the drive to cut taxes so low that a functional government cannot be sustained.
Dan Froomkin at HuffPo pointed yesterday to data from Hart Research, reproduced in the figure here, that shows minorities and Democrats disproportionately across the country faced longer waiting times to vote. A picture is beginning to emerge, though, showing that efforts by authorities to suppress minority votes actually provides stronger incentives to stand in the excessively long lines and vote anyway, providing the best sort of revenge.
As Froomkin also pointed out, despite Barack Obama mentioning in his victory speech that “We have to fix that” regarding the long lines, one of the best mechanisms for a Federal response to the problems has been gutted, as the Washington Post has noted that the Election Assistance Commission, put into place after the 2000 voting fiasco, is a zombie commission that has no appointed members. Obama’s Justice Department is well aware of the organized efforts by many Republican governors to suppress minority voting through overzealous purging of voting rolls, so there is no excuse for the Obama administration allowing the commission to be depopulated prior to the election.
But to return to the Fiasco in Florida, the Miami CBS station posed the obvious question to election authorities there:
In September, CBS4 News was the first to report on the long ballot and the potential effect it may have during the election.
“There will be lines,” Supervisor of Elections Penelope Townsley said at the time.
CBS4 News put the ballot to the test on October 25th and found that taking 30 minutes to complete it would not be unusual.
“Did you ever have any indication on how long it was going to take someone, an average time, that it was going to take,” [Reporter David] Sutta asked.
“No, actually not,” replied Gimenez.
When asked if they ever worked out an average time it would take voters to fill out the forms, [Deputy Supervisor of Elections Christina] White said they didn’t have one.
Another indicator of the third world status of the Miami-Dade government is the state of denial in which they are operating. Despite making Florida once again a global laughingstock for its inability to conduct an election, we see claims of success:
The fallout left Florida the final much-mocked but blank spot on the long-decided Electoral College map.
Elections supervisors and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez acknowledged a range of problems at a “handful” of sites — topped by a lengthy ballot and poorly organized precincts. But they also argued that no more than a half-dozen of the county’s 541 polling places experienced severe waits, including the Brickell Avenue area of downtown Miami, West Kendall, Country Walk, Goulds and Homestead.
Deputy supervisor of elections Christina White defended the county’s overall handling of the election, noting that 90 percent of precincts were closed by 10:45 p.m.
“We think Election Day was largely a success,’’ she said.
One claim in the Herald article cited above is that the Brickell Avenue site consolidated a number of precincts so that more people could vote at a site they were familiar with. But I already noted that Florida did a poor job generally in notifying people that they had been changed into new precincts, as I got a surprise when I went to vote in the August primary. On Tuesday, Carol Rosenberg tweeted the fate of at least one Miami resident who stood in line two hours only to learn that he had been changed to a different voting site.
While Miami-Dadistan has not yet sunk to the levels of incompetence and fraud seen in the 2010 Afghanistan election, we can only wonder if they are just a tax cut or two away from being there.
The electoral maps showing Barack Obama’s re-election should be complete now, but Florida once again has embarrassed itself completely by being unable to conduct an election. Fortunately, this time the outcome of the election does not hinge on Florida’s 29 electoral votes and only one county appears to be the problem instead of several counties languishing in chaos.
Miami-Dade County has announced that it will not have final election results until Wednesday afternoon. The reports on how the election was handled in parts of the county are truly ugly, as voters in some precincts faced waits of seven hours throughout the day:
The wait at the UTD Tower in Brickell exceeded six hours throughout the day. Even voters who arrived before the polls opened at 7 a.m. found themselves stuck in a seemingly endless line. At closing time, hundreds remained to cast their ballots.
Poll watchers said the precinct was understaffed and poorly organized.
For one, poll workers had trouble finding voters’ names in the hard-copy registry because two precincts (and six sub-precincts) were voting at one location.
“This is the worst excuse for a precinct I’ve ever seen,’’ said Manuel E. Iglesias, a volunteer attorney for the Romney campaign.
Of the eight ballot scanners, only two were working. Only two people were able to vote at any one time, he said.
Alexandra Lange, a 50-year-old Brickell resident, waited more than six hours to fill our her ballot. She left the polling place irate.
“This is a mess,’’ she said. “There is a bottleneck at the door. It is chaos.’’
Chaos due to small government would seem to be the goal of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. From his own biography at the county’s website, we see that he wishes to define himself in terms of tax cuts and small government:
Mayor Gimenez brings decades of invaluable public service experience to the post, and continues to pursue a set of clearly defined priorities that reflect both his governing philosophy and the challenges of the current economic environment. After successfully championing the largest tax cut in County history during his first year in office, due to a special election, his priorities remain reducing the burden on taxpayers and shrinking the size of government, while preserving essential public safety services and programs for seniors and children.
It would seem that conducting an election does not fit into Mayor Gimenez’ definition of an essential government function. Grover Norquist must be very proud of him.