Skip to comments.Miami-Dade, Broward ready for smooth elections
Posted on 10/29/2002 5:16:11 AM PST by Oldeconomybuyer
MIAMI -- With Election Day next week, Miami-Dade and Broward counties hope that training, rehearsals and early voting will help erase the specters of hanging chads, uncounted electronic votes and improperly working polls that hindered past elections.
Officials in both counties, which had the most problems in the botched September primary, are confident that there will be a smooth election on Nov. 5.
"We've addressed all those problems," said Joe Cotter, who assumed most of Broward elections supervisor Miriam Oliphant's duties after the primary.
Miami-Dade and Broward were using new touchscreen voting machines for the first time in the Sept. 10 primary. The technology was supposed to prevent the problems counties had with paper ballots during the 2000 presidential election.
But many poll workers were unsure of how to use the new machines, leading to long lines of voters waiting for precincts to open and delays in tallying results.
Apart from additional training for poll workers since the primary, both counties hope encouraging voters to cast ballots early will help shorten those lines next week.
Almost 10,000 Broward voters had turned out by Monday to cast their ballots early, about the same number of people who had sent in absentee ballots, Cotter said.
He expects about 15,000 early voters to cast ballots in Broward, which has the state's most registered voters with about 968,000.
"We want advance or absentee voting because it will assist us in making precincts more manageable on Election Day," Cotter said.
As of Friday, almost 9,000 voters in Miami-Dade had cast their ballots early. Miami-Dade elections officials did not immediately return calls Monday.
Both counties have also had rehearsals since the primary, with Miami-Dade holding four municipal elections and Broward using about 1,000 county workers to go through a dry run last week.
During the primary, more than 300 Broward poll workers did not show up for work. Cotter said he has hired about 600 substitute poll workers to cover for any who are sick or do not show up at precincts next week.
Officials also had trouble finding all electronic cartridges from touchscreen machines to tabulate votes. The county has now created a system to keep track of voting machines and their cartridges, Cotter said.
After Gov. Jeb Bush ordered all polling places to remain open for an extra two hours during the primary, more than 30 Broward precincts were not advised in time and failed to extend their hours. Cotter said the county now can contact all 773 Broward precincts within 15 minutes.
Miami-Dade has also put poll workers through more training and implemented a system to better track voting machines.
(1) When the right to vote of any person who desires to vote is questioned by any elector or watcher, the challenge shall be reduced to writing with an oath as provided in this section, giving reasons for the challenge, which shall be delivered to the clerk or inspector. Any elector or authorized poll watcher challenging an elector at an election shall execute the oath set forth below:
(See link for form with oath)
(2) Before a challenged elector is permitted to vote by any officer or person in charge of admission to the polling place, the challenged elector's right to vote shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of subsection (3). The clerk or inspector shall immediately deliver to the challenged elector a copy of the oath of the person entering the challenge and shall request the challenged elector to execute the following affidavit:
(See link for form with oath)
Any inspector or clerk of election may administer the oath.
(3) If the challenged person refuses to make and sign the affidavit, the clerk or inspector shall refuse to allow him or her to vote. If such person makes the affidavit, the inspectors and clerk of election shall compare the information in the affidavit with that entered on the registration books opposite the person's name, and, upon such comparison of the information and the person's signature and the taking of other evidence which may then be offered, the clerk and inspectors shall decide by a majority vote whether the challenged person may vote. If the challenged person is unable to write or sign his or her name, the clerk or inspector shall examine the precinct register to ascertain whether the person registered under the name of such person is represented to have signed his or her name. If the person is so represented, then he or she shall be denied permission to vote without further examination; but, if not, then the clerk or one of the inspectors shall place such person under oath and orally examine him or her upon the subject matter contained in the affidavit, and, if there is any doubt as to the identity of such person, the clerk or inspector shall compare the person's appearance with the description entered upon the precinct register opposite the person's name. The clerk or inspector shall then proceed as in other cases to determine whether the challenged person may vote.