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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Voting rights groups report problems with early, mail ballots



Voting rights groups say they already have intervened to help voters cast early ballots in polling places across Florida.

A National Election Protection Hotline has received about 1,700 calls from the state, organizers said on a conference call with reporters Thursday. Volunteers already on the ground in South Florida are fielding problems on the ground, as well.

In Miami, a voter who had moved from a different county was told by election officials that she could not cast a ballot in Miami-Dade, said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the , set up by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said. But state law allows voters to change their registration information until Election Day if they move into a county with an electronic poll book.

At the North Miami Public Library, an “election protection” volunteer saw an observer in the voting area aggressively confronting people who asked for language assistance, Clarke said.

And in Hialeah, volunteers saw “aggressive” campaigning within 100 feet of a polling place, which is not legal.

“Our goal is to ensure that all voters in the state of Florida are able to continue voting,” Clarke said.

The epicenter of problems has been South Florida, with calls coming in from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, she said. But voting rights groups have also heard from voters in Hillsborough, Orange and Duval counties.

In Jacksonville, one voter reported having to try eight times to submit a ballot at an early voting site, said Nancy Abudu, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.

Other voters have reportedly not received mail-in ballots they requested, Abudu said.

[Last modified: Thursday, November 3, 2016 4:30pm]


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