The waits of up to seven hours at some Miami-Dade polls during last month’s presidential election occurred in part because the county failed to estimate how much time it would take to fill out 10- to 12-page ballots, did not open more early-voting sites and decided not to draw new precincts this year as planned, a report issued Wednesday concluded. A last-minute surge in absentee ballots that overwhelmed the elections department staff, and a 12-hour Election Day breakdown of a machine that sorts the ballots also delayed the final results tally by two days, according to the department’s after-action report.
Wednesday’s report was the first comprehensive document outlining all of the factors that contributed to troubles in Miami-Dade. State officials, local elected leaders and county administrators have been piecing it together since the Nov. 6 election.
Some of the blame lies with Florida lawmakers, who placed 11 lengthy constitutional amendments on the ballot and cut the number of early-voting days to eight from 14.
But the 53-page report, while not providing any explicit mea culpas, also places responsibility on the county’s election department, run by Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s appointed elections supervisor, Penelope Townsley.