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10 Years Later, Voting in Miami-Dade Still a Cluster

November 02, 2010 By Matt Meltzer in Miami: Local News  | 8 Comments


Ten years ago, voting in Miami-Dade County became world-famous for its incompetence. Our complicated ballots, inefficient systems, and logistical nightmares ended up electing arguably the worst president in American history. You’re welcome. The county vowed to fix it. Electric ballots were instituted. Guides were mailed out. But ten years later, the logistical nightmares still persist.



I moved out to Miami Beach a couple of months ago, and when I did I mailed in a change-of-address form to the county. Because the building I was supposed to move into wasn’t finished yet, I instead listed my place of work as my address. This is where I get all my mail, and my parents have been doing this in California for years. Mid-October rolls around, and I start wondering why I haven’t gotten my registration card yet. Even by Miami standards, this was slow.

October 25, I get a letter from the county saying the address I provided was invalid. It was, apparently, a business address. Not sure what I was supposed to list if the building I was supposed to move to was not on the county’s official “grid” yet, so I called the county.



“Well, sir, where are you residing now?” the woman on the phone asked me. I swear I had seen her on the Maury Povich show earlier that morning. I gave her the address of the hotel the developer has put me up in until my apartment is done.

“Ok, we can change it for you but you’ll be ineligible to vote in this election.” I was steamed.

“Why not?” I asked

“Because, you didn’t change your address soon enough. You need to do that 30 days before the election.”

“I did. I mailed my change the last week in August.”

“Yes, sir, but that address was invalid. We sent you a letter.”


“I know! I just got it today. It took you eight weeks to mail it. That’s not my fault. You’re going to tell me I can’t vote because YOU took forever to get back to me.”

“Sir, you needed to change you address within 30 days.” The problem, you see, with having uneducated people running a phone center like this, is they cannot think off of their script. Her supervisor was no more educated, and sounded no less like a woman on morning TV looking, for the fifth time, for her baby daddy.

“Sir,” the senior-but-no-more-educated supervisor told me, “You needed to change your address within 30 days. All you can do now is vote provisional. But I won’t lie, it’s gonna get rejected. You are listed as ineligible to vote.”

Would it kill the county to require more than a GED to be in charge of how we decide the nation’s future? Don’t you think something as important as electing our leaders should be put in the hands of people with experience that extends outside answering customer complaints for AT&T? How long until the guy handling your voter registration is George in Bangalore? My guess is by 2012.



So, despite my diligence in informing myself on the candidates and issues, and despite my sending in a change of address 2 months prior to the election, I cannot vote because the one thing I was not familiar with was the rules for what constitutes a valid voting address?

For fuck’s sake. This week alone I had someone ask me if Obama would stay as president if his party lost (No, we do not run a Parliamentary system, but a nice guess). I had another tell me her dad told her to vote for the Blue party, but she wanted to know which one it was first. Another asked what a Governor did. Another asked how many Senators Florida had. And yet another told me I should vote for all Republicans because “they’re cooler.” When pressed as to why, she responded “I don’t know, they just ARE.” And guess what? ALL THESE PEOPLE CAST BALLOTS TODAY.



Meanwhile, despite being able to tell you where all three Senate candidates stand on the extension of Bush-era tax cuts, I’m left out of the election process. Complete morons with no civic knowledge are deciding our country’s future. They wouldn’t know Amendment 4 from The Fourth Amendment, but THEY can vote. Because, unlike me, they have a building that was built on time, and the county considered it a valid address. 


This, folks, is why our country is in a downward spiral. Civic contribution is based on your ability to fill out paperwork. It doesn’t matter if you can name more Jersey Shore characters than you can US Senators. You still get to vote. Meanwhile, informed people who want to vote are left out. Good luck America. Don’t blame me when this all goes to shit. I didn’t vote for any of these people.

Related Categories: Miami: Local News,

About the Author: Matt Meltzer is a featured columnist at Miami Beach 411.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer

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8 Comments on

"10 Years Later, Voting in Miami-Dade Still a Cluster"

GR says:

I can’t imagine how you would think you could register a business address to vote. If the residents of CA can get away with that, then I beg to differ when you criticize the elections dept of Miami-Dade.

Posted on 11/02/2010 at 9:19 PM

JohnnyD says:

Any non-retard knows you cant register a business address as your home address.  Even the women you degrade in this column know that.

Posted on 11/03/2010 at 10:04 AM

UTS says:

I miss Bush !

Posted on 11/03/2010 at 6:32 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

JohnnyD, I’m gonna go ahead and say, no, they did not know that. Maybe the ones who worked for the County answering phones, but that’s only because it’s in their script. I can 100% guarantee you they did not know that before they had these jobs.

UTS - I hope you mean Bush 1. GW was the worst president in modern history. How on Earth was life better under him than it is now? I’m not exactly an Obaba fan either, but GW and his lot ruined the Republican party for anyone who was not a Christian, War-mongering whackjob. Hoping this election brings the party back to the middle.

Posted on 11/03/2010 at 8:51 PM

UTS says:

Matt - I don’t blame the maliase on Bush. Everyone was making to much money, including the law makers, to stop the wreck.

Posted on 11/04/2010 at 6:02 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

Yes. I don’t blame Bush for everytihng, like some on the left like to do. A lot of it was wholly unavoidable, or else the fault of the culture, not him individually.

But the billion dollar a day, needless war in Iraq? His fault. 100%.

Posted on 11/04/2010 at 6:22 PM

FredTheCatTravels says:

It seems to me like the more you know about what is going on, when you actually take the time to educated yourself on the issues and the candidates, the more you realize how futile it is.  I missed voting for the first time in twenty years because it slipped my mind to absentee ballot and I’m sorry to say I wasn’t too upset.

Posted on 11/04/2010 at 7:56 PM

laurab says:

Well, as a democratic partisan hack, I am none too sorry you couldn’t vote:) Seriously though, it never ceases to amaze me how little many of our fellow citizens know about their own government. Despite quite widespread ignorance,  I tend to favor mandatory voting. 

RE: our last discussion about the elections, I ended up voting for Crist, my first Republican vote (he is really a republican.  His party just dumped him.) So, pretend that was yours.
I voted for Alex Sink, can’t believe Rick Scott won.
I think the Amendments were not in yoru favor right?  Those were the only redeeming factor of this election for me.

Well, better luck next time!

Posted on 11/11/2010 at 6:39 PM

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