There are three types of ballots that a Florida primary voter can receive when they go to the polls: Democrats get a ballot with Democratic candidates on it, Republicans get a ballot with Republicans on it, and, because it is a closed primary, independents are supposed to get a ballot without candidates on it, instead, they get one with only ballot proposals listed. Unfortunately in a state that has voting irregularities as it middle name, independents appear to be getting Republican ballots, and with the margin between the first and second place candidates totalling less than 1% in many polls, the inclusion of even a few hundred independents could swing the results, and all of the FL delegates, in a completely different direction. Here is an excerpt from a story published by the Sun-Sentinel:
“In northern Coral Springs, near the Sawgrass Expressway and Coral Ridge Drive, David Nirenberg arrived to vote as an independent. Nevertheless, he said poll workers insisted he choose a party ballot.
He said to me, ‘Are you Democrat or Republican?’ I said, ‘Neither, I am independent.’ He said, ‘Well, you have to pick one,”’ Nirenberg said.
In Florida, only those who declare a party are allowed to cast a vote in that party’s presidential primary.
Nirenberg said he tried to explain to the poll worker that he should not vote on a party ballot because of his “no party affiliation” status.
Nirenberg said a second poll worker was called over who agreed that independents should not use party ballots, but said they had received instructions to the contrary.
“He said, ‘Ya know, that is kind of funny, but it was what we were told.’ … I was shocked when they told me that.” Nirenberg said he went ahead and voted for John McCain.
We are going to have to wait until this evening to see what happens with the results, but the closeness of this race makes these reports extremely worrying. Lets just hope there aren’t too many Nirenbergs out there.