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Florida voting again in the spotlight in SOTU

Posted Feb 12, 2013 by William March

Updated Feb 12, 2013 at 05:31 PM

A 102-year-old Miami woman who waited three hours in line at a polling place Nov. 6 will be one of First Lady Michelle Obama’s guests at the State of the Union tonight; meanwhile, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson is co-sponsoring a bill aimed at shortening voting lines.

The Miamian, Desiline Victor, a naturalized citizen from Haiti and retired farmworker, got in line for early voting at 10:00 a.m. Oct. 28, and stood in line for three hours, according to a White House news release.

After other waiting voters complained to pollworkers that Victor was suffering, a poll worker asked her to come back later. She voted that evening, generating applause among those waiting, the news release said. It says Victor is well-known as “Granny” in her North Miami, largely Haitian neighborhood.

Obama referred indirectly to Florida’s voting problems in his second inaugural address; the announcement of Victor’s attendance makes it seem likely he will mention the subject of election reform in his speech tonight.

Nelson is co-sponsoring legislation known as the LINE Act, for Lines Interfere with National Elections, introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Ca. late last year. It would require new federal standards for minimum numbers of voting machines, election workers, and other resources at polling places during federal elections, with the goal of preventing waiting times of more than one hour.

It would also require remedial plans before the next federal election in states where voters faced lines of more than 90 minutes in the 2012 election—presumably including Florida.