CNN reporter waits 3 hours on voting line in Florida
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Tuesday October 21, 2008

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Early voting is currently going on in many parts of the country, and in some areas the lines are already long. However, the greatest number of problems are being reported from the battleground state of Florida.

CNN's John Zarrella visited a polling place in Broward County, where both parties have been urging their supporters to get out early, for the first day of voting on Monday.

"I always vote early, but I've never seen the crowds like this ever before," one woman told Zarrella.

Zarrella joined the line of those waiting to vote at 11:15. Half an hour later, he hadn't made much progress, though he noted optimistically, "I'm not the end of the line any more."

Zarrella spent the time talking to voters, many of whom were studying samples of the four-page ballot, which is loaded with proposed constitutional amendments that few of them were prepared to say they understood.

After an hour and a half, Zarella reported he was "almost inside the door." However, according to those coming out at that time, "it was a big mess" with "machines breaking."

It ultimately took Zarrella 3 hours and 15 minutes to get to the head of the line. "There are two machines that actually print out the ballots," Zarrella explained, "and both of the machines went down for a period of about 45 minutes."

Technical problems were also noted elsewhere in Florida on Monday. In Jacksonville, some of the vote scanning machines malfunctioned, and seven out of the fifteen had to be replaced because they were rejecting ballots. At Miami Beach City Hall, it was reported that "some of the computers used to check in voters weren't working, though there were no problems with the optical scan machines used to count ballots."

"First day, early problems," Zarrella concluded hopefully. "We'll see what happens as the weeks progress."

This video is from CNN's Newsroom, broadcast October 21, 2008.

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