It's been a long time since I've been able to post. As regular readers will know, I am in Florida, working with the Obama campaign's Voter Protection project. The chaos of getting ready to come down here (which I did on Tuesday), long hours and a dodgy Internet connection have prevented posting until now.
About the long hours. The day I got here, Gov. Charlie Crist (R) ordered that the early voting hours be extended, so from Wednesday through Friday they were open 7 to 7, and in Miami-Dade, where I am, they were open 9-5 yesterday. Today, those us working get a break--only 1-5. But voters will be lined up by 11 AM today, if what I heard from people yesterday is any guide.
The location that I have been working at, in South Dade, is a mixture of black, Hispanic and white voters, heavily but not entirely Democratic. There is a great deal of enthusiasm for Obama among all three groups. (Hispanic South Florida is no longer dominated by Cuban-Americans, and many younger members of that group are Democrats. Indeed, Joe Garcia, a Cuban-American who turned around the politics of the Cuban American National Foundation, stands a good, or maybe better than good, chance of ousting Republican Mario Diaz-Balart and being elected to Congress.)
I'd like to pay tribute to the people from the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections office who have been handling the polls, and from other county employees who have been handling the long lines of voters. They have been working amazingly long hours without complaint. Many of them worked from 6 AM to after 9 PM on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and they had been working long ours before that. They are public servants in the best sense.
And credit to the voters who are willing to stand in line for hours in order to exercise their right to vote. Yesterday, a voter said, "After eight years, four hours are nothing." She's right, but while it is a tribute to the patriotism of people willing to make such an effort to choose their leaders, it is a disgrace that they have to do so.