Florida’s much-maligned elections are likely to run much better in 2014, but critics see problems for 2016 that could bring a repeat of the frustrating failures that marked the last two presidential elections. “We might not see the same type of problems in 2014 [that] we saw in 2012,” said Daniel Smith, a University of Florida political science professor who’s done extensive research on the way elections are run around the country. “With respect to 2016, I think we’re going to repeat the past.” In South Florida, the people in charge of running elections are far more optimistic. Not only will voting run smoothly in this year’s August primary and November general election, said Broward Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes and Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher, but people should have a much easier time voting in the next presidential election.
Many people will find voting in 2014 easier than 2012 for two big reasons:
• Far fewer people participate in mid-term elections between presidential contests. Fewer voters means fewer people at each early voting and each election day polling place, and each piece of equipment has to serve a smaller number of people. Even with a hotly contested governor’s race and a medical marijuana referendum expected to draw people to the polls, Smith said turnout would be much lower than 2012.
• After massive lines that accompanied early voting in the 2012 presidential election, the Legislature and governor agreed to years of pleas from Snipes, Bucher and other elections supervisors and authorized more early voting locations. And they reversed an earlier law that had reduced the number of days of early voting.