Friday, October 26, 2012
7 News Features: Election: Long Ballot
Florida voters will be voicing their choice tomorrow. The November election ballot is very long, packed with national and local races, and constitutional amendments. 7's Craig Stevens takes a look.
WSVN -- Obama and Romney are not the only ones vying for your vote.
Penelope Townsley: "This is the longest ballot that the county has had."
You'll also be making choices for congress, judges, state legislature, amendments and local positions.
Dr. Brenda Snipes: "If a person comes in and sees the ballot for the very first time on Election Day, they'll probably be there about 30 or 35 minutes to vote the entire ballot."
In Broward, the ballot is eight pages long front and back. Some Miami-Dade voters will see a whopping 12 pages. Each voter will have to feed their completed sheets into optical scan machines one at a time.
Meaning long lines are possible.
Dr. Brenda Snipes: "When folks get enthusiastic about an election, you're going to have lines. That's just a given."
To keep things moving, fill-in your sample ballot at home and take it with you.
Penelope Townsley: "We recommend that voters take the time to review their sample ballot, and make their choices before voting."
A large chunk of the ballot 11 proposed constitutional amendments.
Amendment 1: Would prohibit laws from forcing people to buy health care coverage.
Conservatives say a yes vote sends a message that Floridians oppose the President's health care law.
Liberals counter it's political grandstanding with the law already deemed constitutional by the U.S. supreme court.
Amendments 2 & 9: Would expand tax breaks to veterans and their families.
Number 3: Deals with state revenue limits.
Amendment 4: Could stop tax increases for homes that fall in value.
Amendment 5: Would give the legislature more control over the rules regulating state courts. A yes vote say supporters would rein in rogue judges.
Those who say vote no argue it's a proposed power grab by those upset with court rulings.
Amendment 6: Would decide whether public money can be used to fund abortions.
Number 8: Eliminates constitutional language that prohibits religious institutions from receiving public money.
Amendment 10: Is a tax break on personal property.
Amendment 11: Could mean a property tax break for low-income seniors.
Amendment 12: Would decide on student representation to the board of governors that oversees public universities.
In addition to the state amendments, Miami-Dade voters will be asked if the county should issue $1.2 billion in bonds to finance public school renovations.
One political expert says, the length and complexity of this year's ballot could lead to a drop-off in voters answering all the questions.
Eduardo Gamarra: "I think the main effect that it's going to have is that people are just simply going to tire, and not fill out the entire ballot."
Election officials say your best bet is Vote early.
Miami-Dade will have 20 early voting locations dispersed throughout the county.
In Broward, there are 17 places to vote early.
Of course there's always voting from the comfort of home via absentee.
The U.S. Postal Service says get those ballots back in the mail no later than November 3rd.
Debra Fetterly: "We do have about 25 million that we expect to be processed throughout the system between now and the beginning of November."
In Broward, it'll cost you a $1.50 in postage to mail back your ballot.
In Miami-Dade, no stamp needed the county paid for postage.
Early voting starts Saturday and runs through next Saturday. You can vote each day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For a complete list of locations and to review your precinct specific sample ballot, go to our website www.wsvn.com