The Rachel Maddow Show | November 04, 2012
>> home for staying with us for this special sunday, sunday, sunday! two days to go, monster truck electi election derby special edition of the rachel maddow show. we've been waiting to do that all yearlong. today we saw the largest crowds we have seen at political rallies this entire election season. mitt romney spoke to an estimated 4,500 people in des moines , iowa. then he flew to ohio where 6,000 plus people showed up to hear him speak. then he went to pennsylvania. after that he bolted for virginia . this is a big, big day for the romney campaign. just as this is a big, big day for the obama campaign . president obama 's schedule includes a late night rally in aurora, colorado. also in cincinnati, ohio. the president drew a crowd of 23,000 people this afternoon in hollywood, florida , after 24,000 people turned out to hear him in virginia . think about that. 24,000 in virginia . 23,000 people in florida today . in concord, new hampshire , this morning, when 14,000 people turned out to hear president obama , that was the largest crowd ever assembled for a political event in the entire state in new hampshire . in the entire history of the state of new hampshire . i realize new hampshire may not be big, but new hampshire is old. and this is the biggest political rally ever held in the state of new hampshire for the entire time that new hampshire has existed. we cannot be sure why more people are turning out to hear president obama today than are turning out to hear mitt romney . maybe it's just the power of incoupi incumbency. govern governor romney's rallies have been quite smaller, but these are quite good crowds all around. for both campaigns. in relative terms and in absolute terms. now it's the part of the campaign where we also start watching another variety of huge crowds. look at this. oh, man. crowds of people lining up to vote in florida . we have been getting reports that the wait for early voting in florida can last for an hour or two hours or four hours or five hours or eight hours. viewers of this show have been sending us these pictures of people losing entire workdays in an effort to cast a ballot. it's not as if florida had an accident where the situation surprised the officials in charge of running the election. florida had seriously long lines for early voting in the last election in 2008 . after they had the long lines in 2008 , florida 's new republican governor rick scott last year decided to cut the days for early voting almost in half. obviously making a bad situation worse. on thursday florida democrats -- plus the nonpartisan league of women voters all asked gov forrick scott to do what previous republican governors have done when there have been long lines at florida polls. they asked him to extend early voting for one day, this day, sunday. speakerring to reporters on thursday, governor scott said no. he said he wontd do it. he said early voting ends on saturday night. never mind about the giant lines. when we came into work to put together this show, we found in our inbox this photo. voters, citizens of florida , americans, lined up in the dark. in this case in the predawn early morning dark hours of saturday waiting to vote. think about that. predawn. these people clearly hoped if they got there early enough they could make it through the line in time to go to work or get home to their families for a regular saturday. nope, not this year, not with rick scott 's rules restriking voting time. the line outside one place down the door and around the corner, down some more sidewalk. across the big lawn. four hours later when you got through that and made it inside the building, inside the library, you were still not done. the person reported waiting a total of eight and a half hours to vote in miami-dade county . happy saturday. welcome to democracy, florida style. i don't know how you spent your saturday night. in miami thousands of people appear to have spent thard night standing in line waiting to vote. everybody who got in line before the polls closed at 7:00 was supposed to be allowed to vote last night. at miami-dade , the wait was still several hours long. o the last voter in miami-dade county checked into the voting place at 1:00 in the morning. have been there a minimum of six hours already by the time they checked in to vote. voting is not supposed to work like this. i'm not sure democracy as an institution or the way we choose our leaders can work like this. you are not supposed to need to bring food and water and a chair dmord to vote. you're not supposed to need an entire day off work or a sitter to watch your kid all day long in order to vote. that's what gov por rick scott said would be just fine. after seeing long lines, especially in south florida . after seeing long, long, long lines, he said, let's make them longer. let's make them longer for this election. long lines are fine with me. because governor rick scott would offer no help. south florida after asking for help on thursday night, south florida woke up to longer line this is weekend. very early this morning the florida democratic party sued in federal court , asking a judge to do what the governor is refusing to do, mainly to make it possible to vote without enduring a marathon to do so. faced with that lawsuit and with the evident problem of voters not being able to vote a few ft. counties decided maybe they ought to do something on their own. they came up with a make do work around plan. you still could not technically early vote today in most of florida , but around the the city of tampa county, you could pick up an over the counter ab centiballot. fill it in there and hand it in there. you can do it all day in greater tampa . in orange county a judge ordered the day of early voting after a bomb scare kept the polls closed there for several hours. the situation in miami-dade county got really kind of nuts today. at least that's how it seems to me. i was watching reporting from miami-dade all day today. it started to feel like farce. after people were still voting last night at 1:00 in the morning in miami-dade miami-dade finally said they would let people pick up absentee ballots today, fill them out and hand them in. okay so far, right? we have seen already what happens in florida these days when you offer people the chance to vote. it turns out they want to vote. and they try to vote. oh, no. we're not prepared for that. today nearly 200 people got in line in the town, a republican leading town. and the only place you can vote in miami-dade county . so voters turned up trying to vote have occasioned a freakout. the election staff locked the door. first they said they did have the equipment tor the staff. then they gave another reason. they said the republican mayor had not signed off on the plan. whatever the reason for miami-dade saying hey, come vote today. then when they showed up to vote, they locked the doors on them. the crowd at that voting place would not leave.
>> let us vote! let us vote! let us vote!
>> one voter who waited with -- waiting for two hours with her 4-year-old grandson told "the miami herald " this is america, not a third world country. the herald says most people did stay in line even after elections officials closed the door on them. then somebody started towing cars out of the parking lot where people parked to be there, trying to vote. an hour later, after peoples cars were towed out of the lot they parked in order to be there, an hour later miami-dade reconsidered the decision to reconsider. the county relented and they opened the doors. they say anybody in line by 5:00 p.m . can cast an in person absentee ballot . there were still 400 people waiting. we were told campaign workers started handing out water and granola bars because it's only reasonable to except they might be thirsty and tired and hungry and maybe furious by the time they got to vote. and frankly because they are heros for finishing what they started. maybe it's just me, but i did not grow up with the expectation that casting a ballot was supposed to be an endurance sport. it's not supposed to be an obstacle course . voting is a good and right and civic thing to do, but we do not expect it to be a matter of personal heroism. not on this scale. not for thousands of people. not because one republican governor says that is the way he wants it to be. i'll have steve kornaki here in a moment. but joining us now is a combatant in the current fight right now if nl. scott is the executive director of the florida democratic party suing for more early voting in the sunshine state of eight-hour lines to vote. thank you for your time. i know you're very busy.
>> thank you for having me. appreciate it.
>> it was amazing watching the realtime reporting today coming out of south florida and what was going on there. first of all, let me ask you, if i got anything wrong in terms of trying to explain what's going on. and let me ask if you have any updates on the current battle over these early voting rules?
>> well, you have it right, rachel. what we're seeing issen explosion of enthusiasm from florida voters, particularly democrats, all across the state. really having a record early vote . we had on saturday, the largest early vote in florida history. and it's just been great to see. but you've also seen the problems come with it when you have a republican governor who has decided he really doesn't want people to vote. we've had tremendously long lines. we decided we had to do something last night, which was file this lawsuit. but we've also seen our supervisors across the state step up on their own and allow folks to have what you correctly call over the counter voting, which is essentially early voting in the large areas where we've seen a lot of the lines.
>> in terms of the overall effect of this chaos today, however things were resolved ultimately in miami-dade today with just the fiasco, but also with the long, long, long waits for early votes and the confusion over wen and where people would be allowed to vote, is that confusion and that chaos itself suppressive? do fewer people end up voting because they're worried they don't know what to expect and they can't plan their lives around the uncertainty?
>> well, you're absolutely right. this is not the way it's supposed to work. voting is supposed to be something we're making easier for people to do, not harder. but people are overcoming the obstacles. people want to vote in the election. people feel passionately about the president. his message has really broken through in florida . and people are overcoming obstacles. you called them heros and they are. they're standing in line for eight, sometimes nine hours to vote. and i think that's incredible. it's important. and you're going to see us in florida on tuesday.
>> what is your strategy from the democratic party 's perspective in terms of tomorrow and election day as well? a lot more polling places will be open on election day . but we can expect given what we have seen so far that it's still tough. what is your party's strategy.
>> well, tomorrow we'll have six counties to allow over the counter voting. we're already getting the word out to get folks out to the polls tomorrow who want to vote early the day before. a lot of people that rbt going to be able to vote on tuesday because they have to work. we have to make sure that gets done tomorrow. and then we're ready for tuesday. we have the largest, strongest ground game that florida has ever seen. we're ready for election day . and we think we're going to have a tremendous turnout on tuesday.
>> scott , thank you for being here tonight, sir. keep us posted.
>> thank you.
>> no, it's not rocket science here, right? i mean, the more opportunities people have to vote and the the easier it is to vote, the more people vote. the more people vote, both parties agree, the better it is for democrats. that's all this is. your voting rights are at the mersy of a partisan decision process and in this case partisan state leadership. that's all this is. after the 2008 election was over we learned the story of what turned out to be the most amazing or dramatic thing about that race. and it turns out that it was the behind the scenes chaos and drama between the mccain side and the palin side of the mccain palin ticket. we didn't know about it in 2008 until it was done and the post more t mortums on that campaign were told but it turned out to be an amazing story. this year we are learning that is playing autoall over again. for a press corp. so supposedly obsessed with politics and the personalities involved, i can t no believe this is not getting more attention, but we have the story ahead. until your triplets