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'Worried' Miami-Dade commissioner requests early-voting overview

Miami-Dade Commissioner Esteban "Steve" Bovo has asked Mayor Carlos Gimenez to review the county's early-voting process, following up to six-hour waits last week at some of Miami-Dade's 20 polling places open before Election Day.

In a memo to the mayor sent Wednesday, Bovo requested an overview of the sites and ballot printing and scanning machines available "in order to discern how this situation may be remedied."

"I am especially worried about the number of sites that did not have working machines or did not have a sufficient amount of voting machines available at their precinct," Bovo wrote.

He specifically asked for numbers for his Hialeah-based district -- for early voting and Election Day, when polls in some areas of the county still had voters casting ballots after the presidential race had been called.

"There is no excuse for this and we need to prevent this from happening in the future," Bovo wrote.

Bovo made no mention of the lengthy ballot or reduced number of early-voting days -- two factors Gimenez, a Republican, has said contributed to the delays. Gimenez has asked for a precinct-by-precinct report, promised to convene a task force and said he will urge the governor and state lawmakers to extend early voting.

Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, signed a law pushed by the GOP-controlled state Legislature last year shortening the number of days to eight from 14. The number of hours stayed the same on the books, though in practice voters had more hours to cast ballots early four years ago, when then-Gov. Charlie Crist extended the hours. 

Bovo, a Republican and former state lawmaker, left the Legislature to run for the nonpartisan County Commission before the 2011 law, HB 1355, was passed.