This is what happens when you let Democrats govern. . . California's credit rating has been slashed to junk-bond status, and citizens are advised to stock up for the not-too-far-off day when cigarettes and Botox become the hard currency of choice. At this stage, we couldn't give California back to Mexico. —Ann Coulter, 2003
For the past few decades, making fun of California has been a favorite pastime of conservatives and, for that matter, just about everybody. We're either the Libertine State (Ganja! Gays!), the Nanny State (Eat your fruit before you get your Happy Meal toy!), or a redoubt of ecofascism. (AB 32: the horror!) But more than anything, we're just perpetually broke—the governmental equivalent of Annie Liebovitz or Mike Tyson. And regarding that Ann Coulter actually speaks the truth. Well, except for the part about blaming government by Democrats.
As I've previously reported here, Florida has been beset by massive delays at the polls due to shortages of key voting equipment such as ballots and ballot scanners, and understaffing at polling places. Now comes this shocking video from Video The Vote, showing a voting line snaking around the block in Miami. It should be noted that, as of 6:40 EST, the Florida presidential race was insanely close. NPR was reporting a 500-vote difference.
This morning in Cape Coral, Florida, 30-year-old Angela DiFranciesco loaded her infant son into his stroller and wheeled him over to her local polling place. It was raining when she arrived and a three-hour line snaked around the building. She gave up on voting that morning and went home.
By this afternoon, DiFranciesco had found a babysitter and went back to cast her ballot. Problem was, now the wait to vote was five and a half hours. She gave up and went home. "I did not vote because I can't wait in line for five and a half hours," she told me over the phone this afternoon. "I have to give my son a bath."
"In the 1920s the right to vote was something that women stood for," the part-time interior designer added. "And now I can't even vote. I still don't get to exercise that right."
DiFranciesco is not alone. According to a database of voter complaints maintained by the Election Protection Coalition, many other Florida voters had to endure long lines today due to broken voting machines, shortages of ballots, or the inability of polling places to handle a crush of voters.
Voters reported long waits, up to seven hours in some cases, in a wide range of polling places, including in Orlando, Fort Meyers, Pine Island, Boca Raton, Pompano Beach, Palm Beach, Jacksonville, and parts of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. A voter in St. James City reported a line of a half-mile long.
In many cases the waits seemed due to broken voting machines or a shortage of ballot scanners. Just a few recent examples: At 3:30 p.m. a voter in Cape Coral reported a seven-hour wait due to a broken voting machine. At 3:40 p.m., a voter in Hernando reported a four-hour wait at a polling place that had only one operable ballot scanner. A few minutes later, a voter in Pompano Beach reported a three-hour line at a polling place where the sole scanner was working only intermittently. Poll workers were putting some ballot pages in a bag next to the machine.
About a half hour after Florida homemaker Renee Goldstein showed up at her polling place in Broward County's Pembroke Pines, elections officials ran out of ballots. She waited 2-and-a-half hours for new ones to arrive. During that time she noticed many people in line leaving. She says the polling place supervisor told her that he had requested more ballots at 11 a.m., but new ones did not arrive for another 7 hours. "Florida is really spelled Flori-DUH!," she told me. "We were just hoping that we were not going to be hanging chad city again."
The long lines in Florida, which began during early voting this weekend, result in part from a bill pushed through last year by Republican Gov. Rick Scott that drastically cut the state's historically generous early voting period.
Misleading flier handed out by a poll volunteer in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania is quickly emerging as the national epicenter of voting chaos. In addition to epic lines, voting machine malfunctions, and what voting rights advocates describe as a possible "unreported purge of voters," Mother Jones has received numerous reports of voters being asked to show ID at the polls. In March, Pennsylvania passed one of the strictest voter ID laws in the country, but last month a state judge blocked it from taking effect until 2013.
Nevertheless, voters across the state report encountering signs and election volunteers requesting identification. Even the polling place in Shaler where Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett voted this morning boasted a hand-scrawled sign informing voters to be prepared to show a photo ID, a poll worker at the precinct told Mother Jones.