Say it, "Flori-duh". The last syllable is the sound bouncing around the brain of our state's governor, Rick Scott. One of the most unpopular politicians in the country, he led the southernmost state to a new low this week with another wacky presidential election. The darn thing took place four days ago and we're still counting votes. Our Republican-controlled legislature did everything it could to discourage and intimidate voters. They worked overtime to earn the latest "duh".
Duh governor knew we had a ballot that was twice as long as most. A good leader would have responded by doubling the early voting days. It's simple arithmetic. Our Tea-Party poster-boy cut them in half. And he's not the only one.
Before Tuesday's election, Dade County had seemingly endless early voting lines. When a local official tried to help by allowing voting last Sunday, our mayor shut it down. People outside were pounding on windows and shouting, "Let us vote!".
Why all the craziness? We really aren't that stupid down here. Corruption is another matter. These problems were created by the people in power for their own benefit. Either that or they are utterly incompetent. Probably both.
Francesca and I were in the thick of it last Tuesday afternoon (we're in the Miami Herald photo above). We had gone to a precinct at a Brickell condominium with our friend, Erin, to pass out Democratic Party recommendation lists.
The three of us were amazed to find 6-hour lines winding around the posh neighborhood. Most lining up were young, in a good mood, and prepared to stick it out. We put our lists away and tried to ease their pain.
A woman approached my wife and asked, "Can you help me? I waited for six-hours only to be told I am not on 'the list'. I have to pick up my kids and this place is about to close!". Francesca told her she'd try and the distraught woman hurried off.
A half-hour later my wife had straightened things out and she called the woman. "Anna" returned with her children, cast her vote, and thanked Francesca profusely.
My job was easier, passing out water, and directing needy people to bathrooms. After doing these things some asked, "So who are you voting for?" and we'd have a conversation.
I saw two older men collapsed. They were taken away in ambulances. You probably can't vote in emergency rooms.
Just before seven our county mayor, Carlos Gimenez, arrived, apologized, and was booed by many.
At 7 pm the polls closed but there were still about 500 people in line. They were told if they hung in there they could eventually cast ballots. Some left but most crowded into the condo's parking lot as its gates were shut. They stood like cattle awaiting their turn.
Three hours later we had a re-elected president and a half-hour after that, the last person at the polling place voted. Other precincts had it worse, some were voting after Romney had given his 1 am concession speech.
That's how it was in South Florida election night; the Florida results were never sent in and became irrelevant. As I write this, officials continue to peruse ballots in the Sunshine State. Hopefully they will complete their task before the next presidential election.