Commission discussed “Plan B” which would postpone full re-precincting until after election; ACLU called for immediate action two weeks ago “and the clock is still ticking.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 19, 2014
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office, (786) 363 – 2737, firstname.lastname@example.org
MIAMI – Today, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners discussed possible solutions to the need for re-precincting to prevent the long lines that voters in some parts of Miami-Dade had to wait hours in to cast their votes in the 2012 election.
The discussion in the commission focused around a proposed “Plan B” offered by Supervisor of Elections Penelope Townsley that would implement some changes in advance of the November 2014 election, but would postpone re-precincting until after the election. The ACLU of Florida had called on Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez to begin implementing a full re-precincting plan two weeks ago, to ensure that all voters in the county had an equal chance to vote in the 2014 election, instead, he directed the decision to County Commissioners.
Following today’s discussion in the Board of County Commissioners’ meeting, ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon stated:
“There is no doubt that the unbalanced and unfair distribution of voters in Miami-Dade County voting precincts in the 2012 Election resulted in the long lines that kept many people from voting causing Miami-Dade to become a national symbol of election mismanagement. We were pleased to see the members of the Board of County Commissioners take seriously their responsibility to prevent that from happening again. However, the fact that the county has put itself into the position of looking to a “Plan B” to solve the problem is regrettable, since the need for changes has been clear since Election Day, 2012.
“The proposal for a partial fix could reduce waiting times to an hour, but the report issued by the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, which was inspired in part by the long lines in Miami-Dade, said no citizen should have to wait more than 30 minutes to vote.
“Two weeks ago, the ACLU of Florida sent a letter to Miami-Dade County Mayor calling for immediate action to enact full re-precincting in preparation for the 2014 election; a call echoed by other voting rights advocates such as the League of Women Voters. We are now two weeks closer to the November election and the clock is still ticking. Today, we extend our call to the Board of County Commission to take up Secretary of State Detzner’s recommendation for immediate full re-reprecincting. We also call on State officials to provide the county with the resources necessary to ensure that all of the voters in Miami-Dade County have the same opportunity to make their voices heard in our democracy as voters in any county throughout the state.
“A repeat of the long lines of 2012 is preventable, but only if the individuals who are tasked with ensuring that our elections are fair and well-managed do everything in their power to make that happen.”
A copy of the November 5th letter sent to Mayor Gimenez is available here: http://aclufl.org/resources/letter-to-miami-dade-mayor-gimenez-re-precincting/