11:55 a.m. -- Just got back from my voting site, and it was a frustrating experience.
Surprisingly, there was absolutely no wait and no line to check in and get a ballot at my precinct (6S in Dania Beach, Frost Park) at 10 a.m.
But there was a long line and a 90-minute wait to scan my ballot through the lone scanning machine at the large precinct. The lone scanner was temperamental, sometimes spitting back and rejecting creased ballots. With four pages per voter (three filled with amendments placed on the ballot by the Florida Legislature), it was a laborious process.
"It's a little ridiculous," said voter Lisa Sorwell. "They should have more machines."
Another smaller precinct at the same site (1S) also had one machine, but had no wait. But the precincts/scanners couldn't be comingled, even though the ballots were exactly the same.
One poll worker said a request to get an additional scanner for the larger precinct was rejected.
"What happens if the machine breaks?" some voters asked.
"Then we'll have to wait for another one," said a poll worker.
There were 90 people in line for the scanner when I left the precinct at 11:30, in a line that snaked out the door onto the sidewalk. The precinct ran out of privacy folders/covers for voters to shield their ballots, handing out blank sheets of paper instead.
"They're giving us one good piece of paper that you can see through," said Jen Bova. "I'm not surprised, but I'm not that upset."
For some reason, it would have been easier to stomach a long wait at the initial check-in and the actual voting booths than the long wait to scan the ballot. It just seemed like inefficiency and improper allocation of resources. I saw one man quit the line and leave before scanning his ballot.
I took my daughter Natalia, who turns 7 next week, with me.
Her verdict on the process: "Boring."
But important. We're both proudly wearing stickers that say, "My vote counted."
8:40 a.m. -- Good morning all. Election Day is finally here, and I can't wait until the ads, robocalls and mud-slinging billboards (my faves: "Friends don't let friends get nuked." And "Obama...oy vey!!!") are finally gone.
I'll be blogging and Tweeting random thoughts, observations and analysis all day and night (and maybe all Wednesday morning). I'll break it up into three entries -- early (8 a.m.-2 p.m.), afternoon (2 p.m.-7 p.m.) and night (7 p.m. on). Gosh, this is getting more complicated than the amendments on the ballot.
Anyway, about to head out to vote at my local precinct in Dania with my 6-year-old daughter in tow. I've voted every which way over the last decade -- regular, early voting, absentee ballot -- but with schools off today I wanted to wait and take my girl to see democracy in action. Plus, my local precinct is at a park, so she can climb the monkey bars when we're done.
Good luck to us all.
And for some quick reading, here's today's print column, about 4.5 million Floridians already casting ballots despite obstacles, and here are a few Tweets I posted this morning. Follow along at @heymikemayo.
8:20 a.m. --Elex predix: People will vote. People will complain they can't vote. People will count and (maybe recount) votes.#Election2012
8:18 a.m. -- Why would anyone vote in-person absentee today...when they can just go to their own precinct and vote???!!!! #Floriduh #Election2012
8:15 a.m. -- This just in...Lawyers suing to extend early voting through June, and add late voting through December 2015. #Endless #Election2012
8:10 a.m. -- I've lived here 23 years, still don't know what the Broward Soil and Water Cons. Dist. is, nor do I care. So sue me. #Election2012
8:05 a.m. -- Advice to SoFla voters: Study, be prepared and remember, you don't have to vote every race/issue. Blank spaces allowed. #Election2012.