Nearly 200 people banged on the locked doors of the Miami-Dade Elections Department in Doral, Fla., on Sunday afternoon, clamoring for it to reopen and shouting, “Let us vote!” The state’s GOP-controlled legislature cut the number of days for early voting this year—from 14 to eight—and prohibited early voting from taking place on Sundays. Miami-Dade officials had decided to open the office for a few hours on Sunday anyway in response to long lines all week—unbeknownst to Miami’s Republican mayor, Carlos Gimenez, according to the Miami Herald. After Gimenez found out, the Herald reports, the precinct closed. That’s what prompted the protest. An hour later, Gimenez allowed the precinct to reopen. “I’m upset at this change, but at the end, when you have 200, 300 voters out there ready to go, you really can’t disenfranchise them,” Gimenez told the newspaper, adding: “I’m certainly embarrassed.”
By that time, the Florida Democratic Party had already filed a lawsuit against state and local election officials, arguing that the voting period in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties should be extended because long lines at precincts earlier in the week had caused many people to give up on casting ballots.
And so began this election year’s legal bonanza.