Remember the 2012 presidential election? Newly reelected President Obama began delivering his victory speech before the last Miami-Dade County voter voted -- and far before Florida's most populous county finished tallying the election results.
The Miami-Dade Elections Department has been taking steps since then to avoid a similar debacle, including opening more early-voting sites and investing in electronic voter sign-in machines. There were no major issues in last year's gubernatorial election.
Yet Miami-Dade still lagged somewhat in reporting its results. So the department has told County Mayor Carlos Gimenez it plans to tweak the way it transmits vote tallies on Election Night to speed things up.
Beginning with municipal elections in November, each Miami-Dade polling place will send its results directly to elections headquarters once the precinct has closed. Up until now, poll workers had been required to take the results, saved on thumb drives, to the nearest regional collection centers, which would then send in the tallies.
"We're basically eliminating the drive time" to the collection centers, Chief Deputy Supervisor of Elections Christina White told the Miami Herald. She pegged that time at an average of about 15 minutes.
The department has asked county managers to allow employees who work the polls on Election Day to attend a two-hour training this month to learn about the electronic results transmission in advance of the Nov. 3 election. If all goes well, the first countywide election following the new procedures will be the March 15, 2016, presidential primary.