Another voting debacle in Florida: ‘Let us vote!’

Photo: AP/Alan Diaz
Photo: AP/Alan Diaz
Alan Diaz

Chaos and confusion swept through an early voting line in Doral, Fla., Sunday morning as the Miami-Dade elections department attempted to shut down the polling location.

Officials reportedly locked voters out at 2 p.m., one hour after the early voting polls opened, causing the hundreds still in line outside to begin chanting, “Let us vote!”

The Miami Herald reports:

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.

Spokeswoman Christina White told The Miami Herald that they “had the best of intentions” but could not “accommodate it to the degree that we would like to.”

Elections officials reopened doors at 3 p.m., but refused to further extend early voting hours past 5 p.m. Patricia Mazzei of The Miami Herald tweeted that, with 15 minutes left to vote, the line outside the office was “about 500 people deep.”

Rev. Al Sharpton discussed the voting debacle with Bishop Victor Curry, who spearheaded ‘Operation Lemonade’ to encourage voters to fight back against voter suppression, Sunday night on PoliticsNation. Curry said he was “not surprised” by the chaos.

“How many more witnesses do we need for the Republican Party to see that this, number one, was wrong, and, two, it just backfired,” Curry asked. “It reawakens something in a whole lot of people who may have otherwise been nonchalant about this election.”

The Florida Democratic Party had filed a lawsuit Saturday night in the Miami federal court to extend voting opportunities before Tuesday, but was rendered moot because of early voting added on Sunday, which was initially not an option.

Scott Arceneaux, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party said the party was doing all it could to help voters overcome suppression at the polls.

“This is not the way it’s supposed to work. Voting is supposed to be something we’re making easier for people to do, not harder,” Arceneaux said on The Rachel Maddow Show Sunday.

He echoed the enthusiasm Curry spoke about on PoliticsNation, and noted that Saturday’s early voting was the largest early vote turnout in Florida’s history.

“What we’ve seen here is an explosion of enthusiasm among voters,” he said.

Another voting debacle in Florida: 'Let us vote!'