Dems claims victory in Fla.; Romney won't concede

Associated Press Modified: November 8, 2012 at 6:00 pm •  Published: November 8, 2012

Officials vowed to figure out why lines were so long; some speculated it was the length of the ballot (there were 12 statewide constitutional amendments) while others blamed the reduction of early voting days from 14 to eight by the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature.

The long lines prompted frustrated residents like Jorge Lopez-Bernal to call the state "a joke."

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez asserted: "this is not a third-world country."

"The waits were way too far," Gimenez said. "And we've got to get some answers as to what happened. Why? Why wasn't it foreseen?"

Gimenez said he would ask Gov. Rick Scott to extend early voting hours in future elections.

Scott didn't return calls on Thursday about the voting problems from the AP. On Wednesday, he said he was willing to look at whether changes are needed to make voting go smoother.

Scott came under a barrage of criticism after he refused to use his emergency powers to extend the number of days of early voting.

Scott said he will sit down with state election officials soon to discuss ways to improve the election.

Another cause of the vote logjam was absentee ballots and the fact that voters had until 7 p.m. Tuesday to drop them off.

Officials in several counties said voters handed in the sealed envelopes containing the ballots shortly before polls closed Tuesday evening, and elections workers needed to verify the signatures and run the ballots through the voting machines. In Pinellas County, there were about 9,000 such ballots and it took most of the day Wednesday to process them.

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Lush reported from St. Petersburg. Suzette Laboy also contributed from Miami.

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