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Why Voting Absentee Was A Bad Idea This Year

In Florida, it's safe to say that voting in the presidential election this year was a disaster.

As we all know, voting lines during early voting and through to Election Day were several hours long. In fact, while President Obama was giving his victory speech, some polls were still open in Miami-Dade because there were people still waiting in line to vote.

But a lot of people thought they had avoided problems at the polls by voting by mail, which is also known as voting absentee.

However,  a report from The Miami Herald's Marc Caputo this weekend shows that absentee voters also walked into a whole other set of problems.

Nearly 2,500 Miami-Dade County voters had their absentee ballots rejected this election in what amounts to a wake-up call for those who ignore or fall prey to the pitfalls of not voting in person. In Broward and Palm Beach counties, about 2,100 and 1,400 absentees were rejected, respectively. A majority of absentee ballots were rejected because they arrived well after Nov. 6 at the elections office.

In the five counties with the largest share of absentee ballots, which includes Palm Beach, Broward and Miami, more than 9,100 votes were rejected.

Here are a few reasons why these ballots didn't get counted:

  • People turned in their ballots late, well after the Nov. 6 deadline.
  • Some people didn't sign the absentee ballots they sent in.
  • Signatures on some ballots did not match the signatures that elections officials had on file.
  • Many people blamed the post office for messing up the mail or sending some ballots later than others.
  • Others say Hurricane Sandy interrupted mail services for Floridians who live part-time in New York.
  • A few people living overseas even blamed U. S. embassies in Mexico and Jerusalem for messing up ballot delivery.

In short, a lot could have gone wrong with the absentee ballot process-- and a lot did. There is also the compounding factor that more people than ever before voted via absentee ballot this year. In Florida, about 2.4 million people voted absentee. About 1 percent of those voters in Miami-Dade had their ballots turned away, which isn't out of the ordinary, but does represent a lot of people.
Caputo also found that "black voters registered as independents in Miami-Dade had the highest rejection rate," which was 2.35 percent.  Hispanics had the lowest rejection rate, which turned out to be about .79 percent.

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