Long Lines in Florida as Early Voters Wait to Cast Ballots

Makeshift Crowd Control Setup in Miami, Fl.

Tomorrow is Election Day. The race is neck and neck, tensions are high, and both candidates know that in order to win this they need all of their supporters to get out and vote. As in every other election, the candidates are most concerned with getting people out in swing states, where a win could decide the election.

Florida is one of those states. With 29 Electoral College votes, it’s one of the biggest swing states on the map. And every year, there’s a polling problem that occurs there. This year, it’s enormous early voting queues. Because election day falls on a Tuesday, when most people are working, early polling gives voters a chance to turn out on the weekends or other weekdays preceding Election Day.

The candidates have supporters fired up to vote, and as a result, early voting numbers have increased exponentially. But it appears as though these locations aren’t prepared for such large groups of people, and Florida Governor, Rick Scott, has refused to budge and extend early voting hours. Some people claim they’ve waited up to 9 hours to cast their ballot.

Of course there are fingers pointing in every direction, passing blame for the long lines, and while we’re not here to speculate on why the lines formed, we have a few suggestions on how to improve them.

Firstly, it’s important to have the right equipment in place. A standard post and rope or retractable belt setup will make a world of difference. Caution tape tied to waste baskets simply won’t cut it. If we had a crowd control wall of shame – which we’re working on – the setup in Miami (pictured at the top) would definitely make the cut.

Secondly, communication is key. If things have changed, whether it’s registration guidelines or queueing instructions, tell the people waiting. Use a bullhorn, a sign, or simply yell to them. People waiting want to know what’s going on.

Lastly, always overestimate the wait time. If you think it’s going to be an hour, tell them it will take two. If you underestimate, and people end up waiting twice as long, the chance of queue rage will rise considerably.

Tensions are naturally high with an Election pending. All polling places should take the proper precautions and have the right queueing equipment in place to manage the crowds that will be flocking to their facilities both before and on Election Day.