On Saturday afternoon, Brian Reynolds was a glitch. He was standing in the parking lot outside the library, talking to a woman named Jo Brooks. Brooks had come to Florida from California to work with the president's campaign at the polls, answering questions from voters who were increasingly baffled by the increasingly baffling election procedures that have been foisted on the electorate in the wake of that electorate's having had the audacity to elect a black Democrat to be president of the United States in 2008. Reynolds told Brooks what had happened to him.I drove down to Miami Beach last night for a bite to eat and was able to check out a huge line outside a polling station across the street from the parking garage. The patient Floridians who waited in these long lines across the state this past week because they value our democracy couldn't be more of a contrast to the Republican-led Florida legislature and our governor who have done everything they could do to limit our access to this process.
He had been waiting since 9:30 that morning. Three hours later, he'd finally gotten through the doors and into the library, where he had shown the ladies at the desk his photo ID, and he'd been given his ballot and directed to another line leading into another room. He waited another half-hour, and he eventually wound up at another desk. The man told him to put his ballot into a machine. Reynolds did as he was told. The problem was, of course, that he hadn't actually voted. He'd followed the precise instructions of the only two election officials he'd encountered and he wound up casting a blank ballot. Brooks, who'd admitted that she'd never seen a situation quite like this one, could only offer Reynolds an opportunity to fill out an report on what had happened. "There's nothing else," she told him. "Technically, you already cast your vote."
Deliberate? An understandable accident? It was probably the latter, but that didn't matter to Brian Reynolds, who was sitting despondently on a curbstone. "Three hours," he said. "Three hours, I wait here to vote. I want to vote. It's important to vote. And I do everything they tell me to do, and my vote does not count. That is not right. They should educate the people in there to do what's right."
The line went past him, all the way to the end of the parking lot. Brian Reynolds sat on his curbstone and watched the other people who were waiting to vote. His day as part of the World's Greatest Democracy was over. He had cast his vote. For nobody.
What does this have to do with Brian Reynolds? Not much. But maybe if he hadn't had to wait for 3 hours and been treated like a human versus an animal being corralled and herded, maybe he would have completed his ballot properly or maybe a poll worker would have caught his mistake before it was too late.
Lots of maybes. But we'll never know for sure, of course, thanks to Rick Scott, the Florida legislature, and the millions of Floridians who voted for these asshats.
|Jim Morin/Miami Herald|
9 hours to vote in Aventura yesterday.