Once again Florida reigns supreme as the only state in the nation that doesn’t seem to want to get their election right. It hasn’t even been two years since Florida officials realized that they needed to step into the 21st century and put some funds toward updating the more than antiquated system of voting in Florida. It would have been easier to count the votes of the 2000 election if people had just stood on their doorsteps and yelled their vote towards the capitol building. So being the geniuses they are, Secretary of State Jim Smith and Senator Rod Smith developed a voting reform package that cost $32 million. This new “package” included touch screens where voters could “easily” select their choice. The problem is nobody actually knew how they worked. The poll workers, all retired World War II veterans who don’t know what a laptop is, had no idea how they worked either. So, everyone from Janet Reno to the guy that lives across the street from me, had to stand in line for hours while voters inside the polls gathered around the touch screens and scratched their heads. End result: in two of the most heavily populated counties in Florida, Dade and Broward, thousands of voters got the shaft once again when all they wanted to do was participate in our great democratic system of elections.How did the other 49 states figure out a logical voting process, but Florida just can’t get it right?What happened to the $32 million that they were supposed to devote to voter education and new equipment?Did they think a short prayer would simplify the voting process?Jim Smith and Rod Smith were elected to do such a simple task: make sure we have a place to vote and that, once we do, our vote is included.And after it was all said and done, every election official was ready to point the finger at his or her colleague, instead of offering a solution to the problem at hand. When Jim Smith was asked whether Miriam Oliphant, supervisor of elections in Broward County, was cooperating with the elections divisions concerning the problems, his suspicion was that “she doesn’t know how to cooperate.”Neither Oliphant nor her spokesman had any comment.Senator Rod Smith said, “There is nothing you can do legislatively to prevent ineptitude.” Next year when good old election time rolls around and we still don’t have it right, constituents will know what Jim Smith thinks of the situation, but not how he plans to rectify it. Next year voters should just step out of their homes and yell their vote toward the capitol building instead.
-Bridget Nance for the editorial board