In the 2008 General Election, roughly 876k total ballots were cast in Miami-Dade County. Roughly 20% of all ballots cast in the election were absentee ballots, and of the the 175k absentee ballots cast, approximately 1% were rejected. Only 10% of African Americans voted absentee in 2008 in Miami-Dade, and only 1.2% of those ballots were rejected.
A majority of African Americans in the county, some 56%, voted early during the 14 day early voting period in 2008 (which included the final Sunday before Election Day). Very few problems with long lines were reported, despite the fact that more than 325k voters cast their ballots in-person at early voting sites.
Fast-forward to 2012.
We all know of the unacceptably long lines at early voting sites in Miami-Dade in 2012 (some lasting more than 6 hours). Not surprisingly, voter participation during the truncated eight-day period dropped in the county, as it did statewide (by more than 200k voters). In 2012, only 235k voters in Miami-Dade cast their ballots early, a drop of roughly 90,000 voters. The steep drop in early voting by African Americans is particularly striking, given the propensity of blacks to vote early. Fewer than 75k African Americans, just 42%, voted early in Miami-Dade in 2012, a drop of 14 percentage points from the nearly 56% early voting rate in 2008.
Many African Americans, seeing the long lines, out of necessity became absentee ballot voters in 2012. Over 33k blacks in the county voted by absentee ballot in the county. But over 500 of those ballots were rejected by the county canvassing board, a rejection rate of 1.65%, which was far higher than the overall statewide rejection rate of .97%, and higher than the rejection rate of absentee ballots cast by blacks in Miami-Dade in 2008.
Just some food for thought for Marc Caputo to contemplate…