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Elections Officials Worry A Longer Ballot Could Lead To Longer Lines

May 29, 2018

The 2012 general election in Florida had some of the longest voting lines in recent memory.

Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer said unprepared voters spent as much as 45 minutes reading through 11 referenda. There will be even more to read this year.

"We know we've already got 13 referenda issues on this ballot," Latimer said. "If people don't look at their sample ballot and just try to walk in a read all that, they're going to be there a while."

With more than a dozen referendums to read through on this years general election ballot, there is the concern that people might not even bother voting on them. Officials are calling that "ballot fatigue."

Elections supervisors are also concerned about the opposite issue: people thoroughly reading the various amendments and spending a long time in the voting booth. Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark has estimated it could take some people upward of 25 minutes to read through all the ballot options.

In Hillsborough, Latimer said he isn't that worried about the ballot affecting wait times. He said more than 70 percent of voters in his county cast their ballots before election day in 2016.

But just to be safe, Latimer is encouraging people to take advantage of mail-in and early voting, as well as sample ballots received through mail. 

 "People should look through their sample ballot, make sure they make their choices, bring the sample ballot in to use as a reference," he said.