10/31: Voting Rites (& Wrongs): Palm Beach County, FL – Dispatches from the Heart of Darkness

October 31, 2012:

Dateline Jupiter, FL: Turnout at early voting is very heavy in this county. Over the past few days, I’ve already gone twice to try to vote – once at midday at the Gardens Branch of the public library and once after work at the Jupiter Branch of the library. The wait times were 1:30 and more than 2 hours, respectively. Lines snaked all around both buildings. I’m going to try again tomorrow morning – very early. A poll worker at the Gardens Branch Library told me that was the best time to come.

For the first four days of voting in our county (10/27, 28, 29, 30), the County Supervisor of Elections reports that 58,224 votes have been cast – an average of roughly 14,500 per day. Given that the polls are open 12 hours, that’s an average of about 86 people per hour (there are 14 early-voting places in PB County).

My sense of it is that the county didn’t anticipate the demand for early voting (registered voters in PBC number more than 870,000) and hasn’t opened nearly enough voting places. I’m a determined voter and am going to cast my vote in any case, even if I have to wait until election day itself, but the long waits are certainly discouraging!

The early voting places are surrounded by what I would be ready to call illegal electioneering — hordes of supporters of Romney, Murgio, Murphy, West, Obama, and the constellation of lesser candidates line the street all along the front of the Jupiter Library on Military Trail, waving signs and hollering their candidates’ names. The Romney Howler Monkeys are the biggest group. Objectively, of course that means nothing in terms of actual votes, but they’re a little thuggish and a little aggressive. Surely they’re standing the requisite legal distance from the actual poll, but it’s close enough to be psychologically intimidating.

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Posted on 5 November 2012, in Florida Sucks OK!. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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