Tens of Thousands Denied Vote in Florida Due to Long Lines

Much has been written, including by me, about the innumerable ways the Republicans tried to suppress the vote this year by making it more difficult for people to cast a ballot. One of the ways they do that is by trying to make the lines longer so more people have to leave before getting a chance to vote, and a new study in Florida shows that it worked:

According to an analysis by Theodore Allen, an associate professor of industrial engineering at Ohio State University, as many as 49,000 individuals in Central Florida did not vote because of the problems at the polls.

About 19,000 of those people would have backed former GOP nominee Mitt Romney, while the rest would have gone for President Barack Obama, according to Allen.

The Orlando Sentinel, which published the results of Allen’s research, notes that those findings suggest “that Obama’s margin over Romney in Florida could have been roughly 11,000 votes higher than it was, based just on Central Florida results. Obama carried the state by 74,309 votes out of more than 8.4 million cast.”

This is what happens when you cut the number of days for early voting in half. And don’t have enough voting machines. And have vote challengers at the polls to cause problems and gum up the works. And all of this is quite intentional.

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  • Because Republicans hate democracy.

  • Michael Heath

    Long lines helped the GOP in Ohio in the ’04 and ’08 elections. President Bush’s main man in Ohio in ’04 was the Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. He was formally responsible for the integrity of OH’s electoral process. Which to him meant a purposeful under-supply of voting resources in Democratic-leaning districts and the opposite in GOP-leaning districts.

  • David Marjanović

    I don’t understand why Americans are so complacent about handling elections. Where I come from, heads would be staked to town gates within three hours.

  • jonmoles

    I can testify to what Michael Heath is saying. In 2004 I didn’t get to vote because of the incredibly long and slow moving lines at my precinct. There was a line out the door into the parking lot before the polls opened. I waited for about half an hour with no movement before I went to work. I stopped by again on my way home from work to the same situation and since I only lived about 5 minutes away I went home and decided I would keep checking back. They kept the polls open until midnight and the other six times I checked between 5pm and midnight there was no change. I was told that there were only two voting booths, one of which was broken, and only one person checking names against the register of voters. I’ll let others decide whether the fact that my precinct was over 80% African-American had any impact on this situation. For full disclosure, I’m a middle-aged white guy registered as an Independent who leans Democratic as the lesser of two evils when there is no other option.

  • brianwestley

    19,000 Romney vs 30,000 Obama? THAT’S where that 3/5ths went…

  • Nick Gotts (formerly KG)

    David Marjanović@3

    Quite so. I’m not sure they’ve even finished counting the votes yet. If they have, it’s only in the last few days, because the totals here were last updated on 31 December. It’s utterly bizarre.

  • They up and give Democrat so-called “voters” long, luxurious lines and you say they’re trying to so-called “suppress” the so-called “vote”?

  • John Hinkle

    It really is time for national election standards. And if any state wants to pull that “state’s rights” crap, then Fourteenth Amendment their ass.

  • Same goes for gerrymandering. Current estimates are that it alone was responsible for the disenfranchisement of 4 million voters in 2012, at a 10:1 democrat to republican lick. (i.e. 10 times as many dems were denied fair representation).

    Time to get the courts involved again?

  • @ 7

    And they forbade evil liberals from giving water to people standing in line for seven, eight hours in broiling central Florida because the knee grows couldn’t be bribed to vote for the president with food stamps and an Obama phone, but a bottle of lukewarm Wal-Mart brand water would tip the scales, making them forget their inclinations to cast their ballots for the bazillionaire paleface with whom they shared more common life experiences than they did with the incumbent.

  • D. C. Sessions

    The good news here is that the trial run has provided a proof of concept. Next action item is to put the technique in full nationwide application in 2014 and 2016.

  • dnorrism

    Makes sense; Need to get the voting machines out of the places where the 47% live and into the place where the 1% live, so they can create jobs for the remaining 52%

    Note on 2004: I spent over 1 1/2 hours in line. One excuse is the ‘burbs don’t have as many issues on which to vote as the cities, so the queue moves faster.

  • spamamander, internet amphibian

    All I can say is that I am loving the Washington state mail-in ballots. No muss, no fuss.

  • Pieter B, FCD


    I was working on the 2004 election in Nevada. When I heard about the long lines in heavily Democratic districts, I called a friend who lives in a very white area near Columbus. She said she was in and out of her polling place in about 20 minutes, despite there being rather heavy turnout. They had eight or ten voting machines for a small precinct.

    @ Michael Heath

    Blackwell at one point tried to throw out a lot of voter registration forms because they’d been printed (by a liberal group, of course) on paper that wasn’t thick enough. Nothing less than 80-lb stock was good enough for the State of Ohio, in his opinion.