Statement from Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorofChange.org, On Reports of Long Lines, Chaos at Florida's Early Voting Sites

November 4, 2012

For Immediate Release Contact: Tim Rusch, tim@fitzgibbonmedia.com, 917.399.0236 Rachel Tardiff, Rachel@fitzgibbonmedia.com, 202.746.1507 “This weekend, there were extensive reports of long lines and frustration at Florida early voting sites, sharply recalling the 2000 election fiasco. These reports, many of them from Miami-Dade County, tell of people waiting up to nine hours to vote, some in long lines until after midnight—and that’s only those who got in line at polling sites before 7pm. Elsewhere, voters were turned away when a polling site was closed early because, as it was claimed, too many people showed up. In far too many cases, would-be early voters are being turned away when trying to exercise their fundamental right as citizens. Florida is also reported to have fewer open precincts than in 2008. "Despite these reports and pleas from the community, Governor Scott refused to extend the early voting hours or add resources to alleviate problems at the polls. This weekend, the Florida Democratic Party filed lawsuits in four counties—Orange, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward—asking for more time for early voting. But the lawsuits should not have been necessary—the state should have extended the hours to meet its duty to Floridians. “The timing of these problems is no coincidence—Black voters traditionally turn out in large numbers to take advantage of early voting, especially on Sundays. These reports make it clear that the GOP is doubling down on their attempts to block Black voters from voting. People are turning out because they recognize how much is at stake this election. Restricting early voting, closing polling places when there are massive lines, forcing people to wait up to nine hours to exercise their constitutional rights—it’s reprehensible and should not be allowed. “Regardless of party affiliation, people in Florida must be able to get to the polls and cast a vote that will be counted. That’s the democracy they deserve, nothing less." # # # With more than 800,000 members, ColorOfChange.org is the nation’s largest Black online civil rights organization

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