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Additional Planning May Have Eased Election Day Delays

MIAMI (CBS4) – Twelve years after Florida's presidential election debacle which made the term "hanging chad" a common household term, some argue that we haven't come very far.

Near a day after most of America has voted and President Barack Obama has won a second term, the Sunshine State's final outcome is still not official.

Votes in Miami-Dade County are still being counted.

"No we are not happy," said Deputy Supervisor of Elections Christina White.

An extremely long ballot, reduced early voting time and record absentee ballot turn all contributed to the delays. Those factors also led to long lines for eight days of early voting, two days of unprecedented in-person absentee voting.

"A lot of people would say something is wrong when someone is voting at 12:30 a.m.," CBS4's David Sutta told county Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

"I agree and we had long lines. We had an extraordinarily long ballot in Florida, the longest in its history, but we also had operation issues without a doubt," replied Gimenez.

CBS4 News saw it coming.

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.

"There is a lot of stuff here," said one of the test subjects. "If a person sees it for the first time in the ballot box they are going to take a long time to read it."

"Did you ever have any indication on how long it was going to take someone, an average time, that it was going to take," 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, White said they didn't have one.

Townsley declined to comment on this issue on Wednesday. Instead she focused on canvassing votes.

Gimenez has pledged that changes will be made to speed up the process.

"Definitely for presidential elections we need to have more early sites, without a doubt," said Gimenez.

As for more days to vote early, don't count on it. Gimenez said he did not request to extend early voting because it meant changing the rules and he didn't wan to give anyone an advantage by bending them.


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