More than 250 people lined up outside the Miami-Dade elections headquarters Monday morning to cast absentee ballots in person, a day after a temporary shutdown at the site led to widespread confusion.
Some 420 voters ended up voting Sunday once the Doral office reopened following the hour-long shutdown, prompted by an overwhelming number of voters and by Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who had not been informed about the voting in the first place.
Angry voters stayed in line, chanting and banging on the locked glass doors, until the office reopened. The national media swooped in. Administrators, whose intentions were to accommodate voters, apologized.
But if there was a silver lining, it was this: News coverage of Sunday’s mess made more voters aware that they could continue requesting, filling in and casting absentee ballots in person on Monday.
“Yesterday’s debacle kind of steered us in the right direction,” said Teresa Liberatore, 24, who was in line with Matt Preira, 26.
She was reading “Just Kids,” by Patti Smith. He was reading “Love in the Time of Cholera,” by Gabriel García Márquez.
“We knew we’d be here for a while,” Preira said.
The two will be in Orlando on Election Day.
Earlier Monday, Elections Supervisor Penelope Townsley stood before about a dozen television cameras to reassure the public that Election Day would go smoothly.
“I’d like the voters of Miami-Dade County to be confident that we are prepared,” she said.
The county’s 829 precincts — at 541 locations — will be set up Monday. Only 20 locations were open for the eight-day early voting period, which officially ended Saturday at 7 p.m.