Democrats take a flop and cry foul
It's basketball season but the it's the Democrats who are taking flops and crying foul. At Miami-Dade County's elections headquarters today there was a fiasco but the wrong people are being blamed. From the Miami Herald:
What began Sunday morning as an attempt by the Miami-Dade elections department to let more people early vote devolved into chaos and confusion only days before the nation decides its next president.
Call it the debacle in Doral.
Elections officials, overwhelmed with voters, locked the doors to their Doral headquarters and temporarily shut down the operation, angering nearly 200 voters standing in line outside — only to resume the proceedings an hour later.
On the surface, officials blamed technical equipment and a lack of staff for the shutdown. But behind the scenes, there was another issue: Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
The Republican had never signed off on the additional in-person absentee voting hours in the first place.
“That was counter to what I said on Friday, which was we were not going to change the game mid-stream,” he said. “I said, ‘No, there’s no way we did this.’”
But Gimenez, who is in a nonpartisan post, quickly realized it was better to let the voting go on, and the voting resumed.
The mayor said he found out early Sunday afternoon — from his daughter-in-law — about the extra voting hours.
The move had been approved by Deputy Mayor Alina Hudak at the request of Elections Supervisor Penelope Townsley. The plan was simple: Allow voters to request, fill out and return absentee ballots in person for four hours Sunday afternoon.
Early voting the Sunday before Election Day used to be allowed. But it was eliminated by the GOP-controlled state Legislature and Republican Gov. Rick Scott last year after Barack Obama used early voting to help him win Florida in 2008 — and therefore the presidency.
In this article the mayor and the governor are identified as Republicans as is the majority of both houses of the state legislature as if their party affiliation immediately casts doubt on any action they take. What's not mentioned here is the party affiliation of the Miami-Dade County Elections, Ms. Penelope Townsley, pictured below.
Ms. Townsley attempted an 'end around' the law which dictates 8 days of early voting to end on the Saturday before the election. The Herald is more generous to Ms. Townsley, calling it a 'work around':
Opening the elections office from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. was a work-around to a provision in the state law that eliminated early voting the Sunday before Election Day. The Florida Democratic Party filed a lawsuit in the wee hours of Sunday morning seeking to somehow extend voting in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties before Tuesday.
The law allows elections supervisors to accept in-person absentee ballots through 7 p.m. Tuesday — including Sunday, at the elections supervisor’s discretion. As of Friday, Miami-Dade and Broward had planned to open Sunday only for voters to drop off absentee ballots.
Miami-Dade switched gears to also let voters ask for a ballot and fill it out on the spot. Palm Beach and two Tampa Bay-area counties, Hillsborough and Pinellas, did the same.
Now I'm no fan of the Mayor but it strikes me that he's 100% correct when he says:
“We all knew what the rules were. When you start doing things like that, you’re opening to criticism of favoring one side or the other,” he said. “All of us knew it was going to be eight days of early voting. It was going to end on Saturday. There is going to be hundred of polling places [open] on Tuesday.”
Democratic party operatives were already grousing on Twitter when the elections supervisor decided to "switch gears" and open the elections headquarters in Doral on Sunday, claiming that it disenfranchised voters in distant parts of the county who wouldn't have the same opportunity and citing voter registration statistics from the area surrounding the HQ. Later the same operatives were grousing about once again, "Florida making headlines for a voting fiasco" and the Huffington Post ran a story about the mess featuring a picture of the governor. How disingenuous.
The 2000 fiasco being alluded to occurred in three counties (Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach) and remarkably the elections supervisors in each of those counties was a Democrat. Remember the butterfly ballot that supposedly fooled senior citizens in Palm Beach into voting for Pat Buchanan? Yeap, it was a Democrat who designed it (illegally, I might add).
So in this fiasco, put the blame where it belongs, on the elections supervisor who was trying to improvise just 48 hours before election day. There will be hundreds of polling places open for a minimum of 12 hours on Tuesday all within short distances of the voters' homes. Everyone has an equal to chance to vote.
The Democrats sense the beating that they are going to take on Tuesday and they are already crying foul.