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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida Democrats settle federal voting lawsuit with Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach

5

November

The Florida Democratic Party reached a settlement Monday with three South Florida counties it had sued in federal court early Sunday to extend early voting.

The key settlement was with Broward Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes, who agreed to offer in-person absentee voting from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at a Lauderhill satellite office, 1501 NW 40th Ave. The county had not planned to allow that option, requiring voters to cast regular ballots at their precincts instead.

Broward spokeswoman Mary Cooney confirmed the changes Monday evening.

Broward also agreed to provide in-person absentee ballots through 5 p.m. Monday. The county had planned to offer the option only through 4 p.m. (Monday afternoon, the department said voters in line by 5 p.m. would be allowed to stay through 7 p.m.)

Miami-Dade Elections Supervisor Penelope Townsley did not have to alter her plans under the settlement. The county will offer in-person absentee voting at its Doral headquarters, 2700 NW 87th Ave., through 7 p.m. Tuesday. Voters will also be able to drop off previously received absentee ballots at a downtown Miami satellite office in the lobby of the Stephen P. Clark Government Center, 111 NW 1st St.

Palm Beach Election Supervisor Susan Bucher agreed to offer in-person absentee voting from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, and through 5 p.m. Monday, with voters in line by that time allowed to stay until 7 p.m.

In-person absentee voting will be limited to the elections supervisor's offices. Voters who show up at their precincts with absentee ballots will be asked to cast regular ballots in person.

Instead of mailing absentee ballots, in-person absentee voters fill the out ballots out on the spot in the office and turn them in directly.

In a statement, Democratic Party executive director Scott Arceneaux said he was "pleased" that about the Broward settlement in particular.

"This is an important step in making sure that all those who are eligible to vote have the opportunity to do so," he said.

The had party sued in Miami federal court in the wee hours of Sunday, asking for more voting opportunities. Miami-Dade and Palm Beach announced later Sunday that they would allow in-person absentee voting Sunday. Broward also let voters who showed up to request an absentee ballot to fill it out and turn it in on the spot. 

-- Patricia Mazzei, Miami Herald

[Last modified: Monday, November 5, 2012 7:20pm]

    

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