Florida’s voting curse
There’s a universal shadow of fear and uncertainty that surrounds this 2016 election, and, as a member of the generation who’s first time it is voting, I have to echo the nationwide sentiment that has been circulating around the country since the primaries: this is probably one of the worst elections America has ever faced.
I have to admit that I didn’t feel as hyped up about voting as I should have been.
I understand the importance of voting, and I still exercised my constitutional right to do so, but it’s hard to be excited when you’re not crazy about either one of the major party candidates.
I can see why each one may appeal to certain audiences and why some Americans wholeheartedly support one or the other, but I personally feel like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton each have their flaws and the ability to devastate different areas of our country.
What made voting in this election even harder was that I’m from Florida, a state that has a record of “ruining” elections for candidates in the past. (Sorry about that, Al Gore).
The state’s mistakes and issues in the past have given it a bad reputation in the area of voting, a reputation that’s not completely unfounded.
I went back home the weekend before the election so that I could vote early, and as soon as I walked into the library where the early voting was being held, the tension was thick in the air, and the lobby area was chaotic.
I was hurriedly directed into a row of chairs, and after about 10 minutes of waiting, my row was called in.
The first thing I was asked that actually surprised me was if I knew how to bubble something in. I don’t think I answered the volunteer right away, mostly because I was thrown off guard that someone had to ask me if I knew how to bubble something in properly like I would do on a fill in the bubble test.
Even though that may be a question that they ask at every voting precinct in the country, it just doesn’t strike me as a question that should have to be asked at all to the majority of American citizens.
What’s even more embarrassing for Florida is that the woman in front of me in line answered, “No,” and the volunteer had to show her the example that was included on the ballot.
My friends have also shared with me their horror stories of working the polls during the primary season because of their involvement in JROTC and National Honor Society in high school.
One of them told me that a voter insisted she had to submit the yellow folder the ballot is placed in along with the ballot even though you are only supposed to submit the ballot itself.
Another said that a woman’s ballot wouldn’t be processed, and it was because she tried to choose five Republicans, and she was very surprised when she learned you can only choose one candidate to run for president.
And then there’s the event that made Florida famous for not seeming to know how to vote properly: the 2000 race between Bush and Gore.
In the 2000 election, there were technical issues with the ballot cards and multiple mistakes made by the Floridian voters, which led Florida to initiate multiple recounts of the votes to determine a winner of the delegate’s votes. The Supreme Court eventually decided to end the recounts, causing Gore to lose and Bush to win the presidency.
I’m not saying that these events are limited to only occurring in Florida; I’m sure that simple questions and mistakes are asked and made in every state across the country during elections.
The thing about Florida is that it is one of the large-populated states, and therefore it is one of the few states with the most delegates. Because Florida is predominantly Republican in the north and Democrat in the south, the state could swing either way.
Florida could make or break a candidate’s chances for winning the presidency, and that’s why it amazes me when I hear people talking about voting for two presidential candidates on their ballots, or when I see three different people on social media posting pictures and snapchats of their ballots, which, by the way, is illegal in the state of Florida.
As one of the states with so much power and influence over an election cycle, I just feel like these mistakes should not keep happening and that we, as voters, should know the mechanics of voting better.