Monday, November 03, 2008

37% in Florida already voted

About a year ago I was groaning about the poor turnout in Miami-Dade County municipal elections. What a turnabout!

Already in Florida we've got 37 percent of registered voters in the bank, with 2.6 million voting early and 1.6 million absentee. That's out of 11.2 million registered in the entire state.

Checking statistics at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department website, your blogger sees that some 63,000 absentee ballots in the county had not been returned as of Saturday. This is worrisome. Where are those ballots, anyway? There were 207,667 sent out, and only 144,296 returned.

If yours is among those unreturned, I believe you can hand it in on Election Day at any polling place -- without waiting in line. Deadline: 7 p.m.

Waiting five minutes or so on the phone at 3-1-1, your blogger asked how many polling places there are in the county. Answer: 764 -- way more than the 20 early-voting sites that were so packed. There are more precincts, because some precincts vote together with one or two others at the same place.

For the record, turnout was 16.7 percent in the county municipal elections a year ago. It's so much better to see enthusiastic turnout now for president and congress, plus all the ballot initiatives. It's a real puzzle why we have to separate the local and national elections. This isn't the way it's done in many places.

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