The question raised by those eight-hour lines!


What we saw at the polling place: We’ve just returned from voting.

On the way out, we said this to the people in line: “They give you a choice of Obama or Romney.”

We got a nice little laugh. As you know, though, it’s in the delivery!

Who has more fun than people, as mother always asked. This brings us to the serious question of six-hour lines in Florida.

On last night’s Hardball, Chris played tape of those ridiculous lines, then played tape of Christine Todd Whitman. We weren’t sure just how to react to what the ex-governor said:
MATTHEWS (11/5/12): Welcome back to Hardball.

What you just heard is a group of people waiting to vote in Miami-Dade County in Florida just yesterday, protesting—“Let us vote!”—after election staff people locked the doors during the time early absentee voting was supposed to be in progress. Well, that polling site opened about an hour later again. Which came on the heels of Florida’s busiest early voting day ever Saturday when some people waited in line up to six hours to vote, up until one in the morning in some cases.

Here’s what former Republican governor of New Jersey, Christine Todd Whitman, had to say about it earlier today on MSNBC:

WHITMAN (videotape): I don’t know what went on in Florida, but I do have to say, in this day and age, it’s simply inexcusable in this country that we have anything like this going on. I mean, I’ve done—led delegations around the world to watch voting. And this is the kind of thing you expect in a third world country, not in the United States of America.

MATTHEWS: “That’s what you see in a third world country.” Wow! What a critique!
Question: How should a good liberal respond to that comment? Choices:

Was that the most racist thing you ever heard? (Because it compared Dade County to a third world nation.) Or was that a right-on critique of corruption in Republican Florida?

As liberals, we want to say both! But watching MSNBC, we have heard no attempt to report a key distinction concerning those ridiculous lines:

Are those lines occurring all over Florida? Or just in Democratic districts?

We have never studied this topic. But if memory serves, Ohio’s ridiculous lines in 2004 were found in minority and college-kid districts, due to mysterious shortages of voting machines in such places.

We’ve seen a lot of screeching on The One True Channel about the long lines in Florida. But we haven’t seen any attempt to explain exactly where these ridiculous lines are occurring.

Whitman was right, of course. It’s insane that people are asked to wait that long to vote. Can you think of any activity in this country where consumers are forced to stand in such lines to buy a basic product or receive a basic service?

The CEO of any such business would be sent packing in ten minutes flat. But this has gone on since at least 2004 when it comes to the right to vote—and The One True Channel can’t even seem to define the basic question this raises.

(Perhaps this has been discussed at some point. If so, haven’t seen it.)

Last night, Rachel was clowning around in her wonderful way with her beer hat, her chair and her basic provisions, telling us rubes what we should take when we go to vote. But how many people are getting thrown into those six-hour lines?

The entertainment was wonderful, as always. But Rachel forgot to ask.

Would you stand in those six-hour lines? Second question: In how many parts of Florida are people being forced to do that?

An earlier brush with greatness: Who did we vote for today? We rubber-stamped all the incumbents:

President Barack Obama
Senator Ben Cardin
Rep. Elijah Cummings

As a comedian, we once had to follow Cummings at an AFL-CIO event. As we unpleasantly learned that night, he may be the most commanding speaker since Moses left the planet.

We've voted for him ever since. People! Fair is fair!

(Our previous congressman, Kweisi Mfume, also rocked the hall.)


  1. Well, the long lines were not in Boca Raton, where a friend connected the arrow for Gary Johnson. I have never heard of long lines anywhere outside of urban areas. Suburbs the longest you hear about is 30 minutes to maybe a couple of hours if it is after work before the polls close.

  2. Well Pinko and Bob, how about addressing the larger point.

    Multi-hour waits in line to vote anywhere are UNACCEPTABLE! It is a problem we can fix, and we MUST fix.

    There is everything right and nothing wrong with people wanting to vote. Let's do everything we can to make that happen.

  3. Anonymous, I am not in favor of lines. I agree with the critique. That voting is a mess and that it isn't a national holiday for example or on a weekend is kind of sad, or that the entire country doesn't do it like Oregon...I support making voting less of a burden.

  4. The long lines in Florida were a result of there being 11 initiatives on the ballot. Apparently, being presented with their ballot was the first time that most voters became aware of said initiatives and it took considerable time to read, decipher, and decide how to vote on them:,0,3633792.story

    Of course, it didn't help that the Florida legislature had made things even more difficult for them, even those that tried to be informed had their problems:

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