Nation & World

Florida adds voting booths to cope with long lines

Record throngs of voters continue to wait with uncharacteristic South Florida patience, as more than 47,000 people cast ballots in Miami-Dade and Broward counties in the first two days of early voting.

On Wednesday, the lines continued, often in predominantely black communities.

''As we know, we have experienced tremendous lines at all our voting sites,'' said Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda C. Snipes. ``I don't expect our lines will diminish over the next 11 days.''

Snipes' office added 229 voting booths and 42 optical scanners at the 17 early voting sites in the hopes of quickening the pace -- in a county where voters waited from 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours or more to cast their ballots at the West Regional Library in Plantation, where people started lining up at 8 a.m., and at Miramar City Hall.

At the North Dade Regional Library in Miami Gardens, some voters started lining up, with lawn chairs in tow, at 5:30 a.m.

The line was 200 deep by the time the polls opened at 7 a.m. at the library in the heart of North Miami-Dade's black community.

''The early bird always gets the worm,'' said Clem Hamilton of Miami Gardens, who brought his own stool to make the wait more manageable.

"It's less stressful to come early in the day.''

Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Lester Sola ordered 30 additional machines to read voter identification cards to be distributed at the 20 early voting sites.

''Our issue has been the sign-in areas, and that's what we're trying to address,'' said elections spokeswoman Marie Bertot.

''We have five of the ID readers out now, and the other 25, we're hoping will get here'' on Thursday.

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