October 24th, 2008
05:25 PM ET

Voting for President/Presidente/Prezidan in Florida

Kim Segal
CNN Supervising Producer

I received my Florida absentee ballot a few days ago. After taking it out of the envelope I was originally intimidated by the length. I thought it would take a while to fill out so I tucked it away in my “things to do” file. I recalled CNN’s John Zarrella talking to voters during his three hour wait to early vote. Many of them, were blaming the wait on the size of the ballot.

After speaking with John he said the ballot length wasn’t a problem it was the new machines. So today I took a closer look at what was on my four legal-sized page ballot. Three pages have initiatives on both sides. Once I looked at it I realized, of course it looks long since everything is written in three different languages English, French-Creole and Spanish.

John and I live in the Ft. Lauderdale area which is part of a large and diverse county. This means not only do we have our ballot translated into three languages but we also vote on issues regarding our County’s Charter. Not every Florida County is governed by their own Charter so not every Floridian has 10 additional issues to vote on. I compared my ballot to the one for the area surrounding our Capital, Tallahassee. That ballot fit on one page front and back. It was written in one language, English. The six Florida Constitutional Amendments fit on half a page, only three translated Amendments fit on one of my ballot pages.

It took John less than ten minutes to vote once he was in the booth, I have a feeling it may take me a bit longer. Not because of the size of the ballot but because I think I will use this opportunity to brush up on my Spanish.

Filed under: Kim Segal • Raw Politics
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Sharon, LA, CA

    We have way more than 3 languages to deal with in CA. We should make English the language of the US so we can stop having to pay for everything to be translated into 17 different languages. If you want to vote, you should be able to speak – and understand – the language. I just don't think that's too much to ask

    October 24, 2008 at 6:41 pm |
  2. Abbe Eason

    I sent in my Florida Absentee Ballot last week. I too was intimidated by the size at first. However, it's not only the size that is intimidating, but the wording of the Amendments to the Constitution. I think it is important the ballot is printed in different languages to make the choices and instructions very clear for someone who may not read English well.

    As I am now in Italy studying the Italian language I have a greater appreciation for the difficulties a person faces when speaking or learning a second language. If I had a difficult time with the ballot in English, I can imagine how impossible it must seem to someone who can barely read in another language.

    I only hope the absentee ballots aren't too complicated that they cause someone to fill it out incorrectly and not have it counted.

    October 24, 2008 at 5:43 pm |