Voters in some parts of Florida are waiting as long as four hours to cast their ballots before early voting ends Saturday night.
The Miami-Dade County Election Department was reporting early voting wait times in excess of one hour at all 20 of its polling locations. At two locations – the Election Department main office and the North Dade Regional Library – officials were reporting wait times of four hours.
The ballot in Miami-Dade County is five pages long, front and back, with an estimated completion time of as long as 30 minutes.
Farther north, in the Tampa Bay area, election officials were reporting shorter wait times at most polling sites, with only a handful exceeding 45 minutes.
When asked about how voters waiting in lines were reacting to the lines in Hillsborough County, Travis Abercrombie, the public information coordinator for the Hillsborough County Elections Office, said they have “the patience of Job.”
The early voting window was reduced by Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott from 14 to 8 days, or from 120 to 96 hours.
The large turnout in some South Florida counties prompted some groups, including the League of Women Voters and the Florida Democratic Party, to call on Scott to extend voting hours, as then-Gov. Charlie Crist did in 2008. But Scott declined, telling reporters at a fundraiser in Newberry, Fla., that early voting would end Saturday night, as scheduled.
“Once again, Rick Scott has sided against the people of Florida,” said Scott Arceneaux, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party. ”In rejecting calls for an extension of early voting hours, Scott has failed in his constitutionally obligated duty, broken with the history of past Republican governors and reminded Florida voters why they continue to hold a negative opinion of this governor. The people of Florida will not forget his failure to stand up for their right to vote.”