Sunday, November 02, 2008

Kudos to the iron people waiting forever to vote!

Annette Taddeo (in blue), Democratic challenger for U.S. House District 18, meets people in a long line waiting to vote at North Shore Branch Library in Miami Beach Sunday afternoon.

There was this headline on the Miami Herald's website, main page, saying "Early voting has closed." It was about 8 p.m. when I saw it. Then I called my friend Erika Brigham in the South Beach storefront of the Miami Beach Democratic Club. She asked around and was told that people were still voting at Miami Beach City Hall. Wow, that was three hours after the line closed.

The Herald was a little premature in the tense it chose for the verb in that Internet headline. Maybe the lines had closed, but voting was still at full throttle.

I hopped in my car and drove to the North Shore Branch Library, the other place where people can early-vote in Miami Beach, and the last people were soon to finish voting at about 8:45 p.m. Wow, these were people I saw getting on line just at 5 p.m. after I had spent most of the four-hour day there.

Then I called Michael Calderin, candidate for Florida House of Representatives in District 119, and he was still on line waiting to vote at the West Kendall Library on Hammocks Road and 102nd Avenue. He expected he might finish about 9:30 p.m. but couldn't be sure, as the line was snaking through rows of bookshelves. Wow, that would be 4 1/2 hours on line.

Will they be finished by midnight? It could be close. The longest wait time on was five hours at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center in downtown Miami. That was posted just before 5 p.m., so they most likely will be finishing around 10 p.m. Wow.

The early turnout is stunning. The crowds on Miami Beach were overwhelmingly pro-Obama, though some crazies came out from their caves with bizarre signs and shouts, so it's clear that Democrats won't get all the votes.

Michael Calderin said he'd seen tremendous lines at at least three early-vote sites on Sunday, and he thought almost half of the expected votes in his Florida House district had already been cast.

So I'm just saying, maybe Election Day won't be too crowded, if such a large number have voted already.

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