Elections Advisory Group finalizes voting recommendations

By Carlos Suarez, Reporter, csuarez@local10.com
Published On: Dec 14 2012 12:38:06 PM EST
Updated On: Dec 14 2012 07:34:26 PM EST
MIAMI -

The Miami-Dade Elections Advisory Group finalized its list of voting recommendations for state lawmakers Friday morning.

They included asking for additional early voting days and the option of having early voting sites at locations other than city halls and public libraries.

The group was formed following last month's Presidential election where voters experienced a series of problems at precincts across South Florida.

The financial burden of opening more early voting sites worries the group, made up of county leaders. Mayor Carlos Gimenez says it will cost the county $20,000 a day to add a single location to the 20 sites the county used last month.

"There is a cost associated with each and everyone of these being open. And we're going to have to bite the bullet on state and presidential elections and open a lot more early voting sites," Gimenez said.

The advisory group is also asking state lawmakers to extend early voting days from eight to nine and to include the Sunday before Election Day. The proposal will certainly face some opposition in the Legislature. State lawmakers cut back on the number of early voting days last year.

"The time line was shrinking, but it was a bigger problem of not enough places to vote. That was simply the problem," said Commissioner Lynda Bell.

The group 35-page recommendation includes limiting the number of words for constitutional amendments, giving the elections supervisor more time to canvass ballots and change the name of absentee ballot to vote by mail.

They also want to give voters the options of printing a ballot in the language of their choice. Voters across South Florida stood in line for hours during the early voting period as well as on Election Day.

The advisory group will meet again on December 19th to go over other problems voters faced including understaffed precincts and ballot scanning machines that broke down for a brief time.