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Broward Supervisor of Elections - No absentee ballots on Election Day

by Philip Alongi
Nov 4, 2008
Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office - Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
We arrived at the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office in Fort Lauderdale, FL at 6:40pm to respond to reports that people were still waiting for Absentee ballots as the 7pm poll closing time loomed. We found over a dozen people waiting at the SOE's office, some for hours. Many had requested ballots days earlier and were told to return to the SOE office after 3pm on election day. People that followed those instructions were told upon arriving to the office that the ballots were produced at an off-site location and hadn't arrived yet. The majority of the people waiting for absentee ballots were waiting on someone else's behalf; some were waiting for multiple ballots to be delivered to hospitals, nursing homes and for homebound citizens that could not otherwise vote. At 6:50pm, 10 minutes before the close of the polls, the absentee ballots arrived. There was a mad rush to the counter as residents rushed to retrieve the absentee ballots they were promised. Obviously, 10 minutes was not enough time to leave the SOE, deliver the ballot, have it filled out, and drive it back to the office. The SOE granted an accommodation of two additional hours to be extended to the closing time so that their votes could count. For some, especially the ones who needed to deliver multiple ballots to multiple locations, that didn't seem like enough time. One woman expressed concern that she was delivering an absentee ballot to an ICU patient at a local hospital and she feared that her two hour window of opportunity to deliver and have a ballot completed was near impossible. Especially, as she points out on the video, if the patient was asleep.