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The complications and absurdities of elections in Miami, Florida

Get a ballot. Cast a ballot. Easy, right?

Not in Miami. Not in Florida.

Consider what happened Sunday when Miami-Dade’s elections office, to serve the tens of thousands of people who wanted to vote early, decided to open its Doral headquarters office to allow for more in-person early voters.

That’s when good intentions paved a pathway to public-relations hell.

There weren’t enough functioning printers at the headquarters. There weren’t enough workers. And there were too many voters, about 180, who showed up when the voting was unexpectedly offered as a bonus.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez wasn’t told, either.

So then the office shut down voting, partly due to Gimenez, and tried to turn people away. One woman, among the throngs who had illegally parked due to the tight conditions, found that her car had been towed — one of two hauled away from the lot.

Then someone scrounged up a printer and someone told Gimenez, a Republican, how utterly foolish it would be to turn away voters. Voting was then allowed to proceed more than an hour later.

“We went through a lot to actually vote,” said Justin Walden, 18.

Technically, Walden shouldn’t have been there at all on Sunday.

Early voting wasn’t supposed to be offered the Sunday before Election Day due to an elections law approved by Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-led Legislature. They cut back early voting days after watching Barack Obama become president in 2008 thanks to Florida’s early voting.

So how was early voting offered legally Sunday? And how could Miami-Dade continue to offer it on Monday?

It isn’t technically “early voting,” that’s how. Broward and Palm Beach counties came up with the same idea Sunday, but neither experienced the problems that Miami did. (Palm Beach, though, has struggled with absentee-ballot glitches involving more than 28,000 ballots.)

Welcome to elections in Florida — home of the 2000 presidential recount — where elections aren’t easy.