In what amounted to a dry-run for early voting and Election Day, President Obama’s campaign encouraged supporters Wednesday to cast mail-in ballots in person at elections offices throughout Florida where voters said people need to do their homework and to be prepared for a long stay because of lengthy ballots.
It took some voters an hour to cast their ballots Wednesday morning in Miami-Dade.
Many more Floridians — 76,000 and counting — are voting from the comfort of their own home by mailing in absentee ballots. Republicans hold a small edge.
Democrats have historically waited until the start of in-person early voting before they cast their ballots.
But the GOP-controlled Legislature shortened the number of in-person early-voting hours compared to 2008. It also lengthened the ballot with 11 proposed constitutional amendments printed in full for the first time ever.
"There had to be some type of intention to discourage people from voting,” said Stephen Wayner, a 67-year-old Democrat from Miami, who cast his absentee ballot Wednesday.
On Wednesday, many of the 30 people who showed up to vote early with Wayner shared the belief that Republicans want to suppress the vote — a concept dismissed as groundless by Rep. Richard Corcoran, a Tampa Bay-area Republican from Trinity who helped sponsor the legislation that called for full-length constitutional amendments on the ballot.
Corcoran said people should take their ire out on the “liberal Florida Supreme Court,” which repeatedly struck down the Legislature’s proposed constitutional amendments over the years on the grounds that the initiatives’ ballot summaries were misleading or needed “clear and unambiguous” language.
“They created this concept out of whole cloth, it’s not in the Constitution,” Corcoran said. “So what we did is we said ‘fine, if this is the unfortunate game you want to play, we will make it clear and unambiguous.’ Now people know exactly what they’re voting for. And that’s a wonderful thing.”