Does not bode well for 2004

This trio of articles is especially alarming, taken together. I fully expect Republican interference strategies, invented in 2000 and honed during this election, to proliferate to other swing states in 2004 as they emerge from the Floridalab.

Polling precincts ready, but long lines seem likely (Miami Herald)

One ominous indication: Experts timed Miami-Dade voters Monday and calculated that the average person needed 20 minutes to work through the ballot, according to Linda O'Brien, spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade Police Department.

If that holds true today, only three voters per hour will use each machine -- causing major congestion at polling places.

''We'll see what happens,'' said Dave Love, a Broward precinct clerk. ``Last time was bad, and I don't know how they could have fixed everything.''

Can South Florida get it right? (St. Petersburg Times)

Miriam Oliphant, the embattled Broward elections supervisor, also cited the long lines and suggested in a letter to Gov. Jeb Bush that he extend polling hours on Tuesday, as he did on Sept. 10.

Campaigning in North Florida, Bush said: "We're just not going to extend the voting hours." The lines were expected, given the length of the ballot, he said. "That's democracy."

Bush also acknowledged the sensitivity of the situation, being asked as the state's chief executive to make a decision that could hurt him at the polls but leave him open to charges of partisan tampering. Ordering an extension of the poll hours in heavily Democratic Broward would aid his opponent, Bill McBride . "It would put me in a difficult position, no question about it," Bush said.

This is reminiscent of the problems plaguing the September 10th primary elections:

Voting Problems Persist In Orlando, South Florida (Tampa Tribune)

In one precinct in a predominantly black Miami neighborhood, voting didn't begin until 11:45 a.m., nearly five hours after polls opened. Officials estimated about 500 people left without voting.

``Nobody has been able to vote in this district, period,'' said Delbra Lewis, who attempted to vote three times by late morning. ``I've been here since 7 a.m. and I haven't been able to vote.''

A precinct at a senior center in Jacksonville opened 90 minutes late because poll workers didn't realize they were supposed to turn on machines themselves. Dozens of voters left without casting ballots.

Another polling station near downtown Miami was down most of the day, finally opening shortly before 5 p.m. Carlton Howard said he was turned away three times before it opened.

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