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Scenes from Flagler’s Election Day

| November 6, 2012

Pat Rizzo, a supporter of Jim Manfre, the candidate for sheriff, at the Palm Coast Community Center precinct this afternoon. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: 4:17 p.m.

FlaglerLive is going around the county, gathering impressions, reactions and images from Election Day. This story will be updated periodically along the day’s journey.

4:03 p.m.

Mike Tennyson, a poll observer representing the Mitt Romney campaign, said he was illegally thrown out of Precinct 18, at Christ Lutheran Church on Pine Lakes Parkway, today, when a poll worker said the Republican Party could have either a Romney representative or a party representative in the polling area, but not both.

Tennyson says that’s a misreading of the law—the very law Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks sent him: each candidate may have his or her own observer in a polling place. The party observer is an additional allowance, not conditional on the presence of other observers.

“I feel like a disenfranchised poll observer,” Tennyson said. “The legal team said I’m entitled to be there.”

A lawyer from the Romney campaign contacted Weeks’s office and, according to Tennyson, worked out the conflict, with Weeks conceding that Tennyson has the right to be in the polling place. As of now. Tennyson remains outside the polling area, where he says he intends to stay until he’s allowed back in.

4:17 p.m.  update

Kimberle Weeks went down to the polling station and allowed Tennyson back in herself. But Tennyson was out of the polling station from 10:30 am to 4:15 pm. (Thanks to WNZF’s Ron Charles for originally uncovering this item.)

3:45 p.m.

A curious scene at the intersection of Palm Coast Parkway and Old Kings Road. Drivers going south on Old Kings could see Marshall MacLeod, a 33-year-old homeless man who nevertheless says he owns a home in Sarasota, holding up a pre-printed “Fire Obama” sign, and alternating it with a “Nobama/Romney” cardboard sign. He said he was trying to “kill two birds with one stone” by making a little money, panhandling with the “Fire Obama” sign, and opposing the president.

MacLeod says he’s an Army veteran, though what he says should be taken with a grain of salt: he also said that, while being a resident of Sarasota, he voted this morning in Palm Coast. His reason for opposing Obama: ObamaCare and the cash for clunkers program. “Who thought up that idea?” MacLeod described himself as a Romney supporter by default: he was really for Ron Paul, but Paul is no longer an option.

Marshall MacLeod, panhandling at the intersection of Palm Coast Parkway and Old Kings Road. click on the image for larger view. (FlaglerLive)

2 p.m.

Voting began at 7 a.m. today in most counties in Florida and in 22 precincts around Flagler County, down from 38 precincts last year. The reduction in precincts didn’t create long lines: at mid-day, there were no lines at the public library in the heart of Palm Coast, or at the Veterans of Foreign Wars precinct on Old Kings Road, and only short lines at Buddy Taylor Middle School and Wadsworth Elementary.

It’s an indication of early voting’s effects: 43 percent of Flagler County’s registered voters had cast an absentee or early voting ballot already. That’s well above half the expected turnout for the election.

But there were minor problems of a different sort: a lot of voters went to the wrong precinct and gad to be redirected. In one case, a voter thought one precinct was for Republicans, another for Democrats. A minor kerfuffle at Buddy Taylor required the response of cops (nothing came of it). And in the irony of the day (so far), the VFW post on Old Kings Road roped off campaign supporters and voting rights volunteers well beyond the 100-foot limit beyond which, by law, solicitors are not allowed to go.

The VFW told campaign volunteers that they were doing so to prevent traffic snarls within the VFW’s parking lot. But campaigners argued that the VFW was violating the law, since on election day the precinct must adhere by voting-law rules, which do allow soliciting up to that 100-foot limit. In other words, the VFW, whose veterans proudly speak of their service as having protected Americans’ right to free elections, was today violating a fundamental part of that very right.

When Lorenzo Nacci, the VFW commander, was reached in late afternoon, he said there were two reasons for the restriction: during the primary, candidates and volunteers had acted unsafely, snarling traffic inside the parking lot; and “they left all their garbage behind on the property.” Nacci said he had no intention of violating the law, but did intend to keep the property safe.

A similar restriction is in place at Shepherd of the Coast Lutheran Church (Precinct 22).

As always on voting days, candidates were at various polling spots, trying to read where the largest number of people might still turn up. Craig Atack, in a run-off election for county judge with Melissa Moore-Stens, was at the public library on Belle Terre and Palm Coast Parkway, where foot traffic, after the morning rush, was surprisingly light. There was a dearth of candidates there, too, in contrast with the eight days of early voting.

“It’s been a great experience,” Atack said. “I’m not a politician, it’s the first time Ive ever done this. I have a lot of respect for anybody that participates in democracy, especially at the local level, where walking into people’s houses has a significant impact on the election.”

Moore-Stens was at the VFW.

“It’s certainly an exciting day,” she said. “I’ve met so many wonderful people through the campaign process. It’s definitely been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life, but the goal was to achieve my dream, so either I do, or I go back to representing people and doing what I love, which is being a lawyer and helping people in a different way.”

The VFW’s un-American prohibition. Click on the image for larger view. (c FlaglerLive)


At the public library, a far quieter scene than during early voting days. (FlaglerLive)


A modest midday line at Buddy Taylor Middle, Precinct 15. (FlaglerLive)


The buzz at Wadsworth Elementary. (FlaglerLive)


Trey Corbett and friends, including Gail Wadsworth, the clerk of court and Republican Party cheerleader. Click on the image for larger view. (FlaglerLive)

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16 Responses for “Scenes from Flagler’s Election Day”

  1. PC Dad says:

    Staff at Shepherd of the Coast Lutheran Church (Precinct 22) were nasty about it. Told the volunteers and supporters it was there right to not allow anyone on their private property except for voters. Great patriotism. I’d like to see these places get left off the list of precincts the next time unless they are going to follow ALL of the rules

  2. kmedley says:

    According to Florida Statutes 101.052(2)(1) and 102.031(3), ” a person at a polling place … within 100 feet of the entrance of a polling place…, may not solicit any elector” and “no person, political committee, committee of continuous existence, or other group or organization may solicit voters inside the polling room, or within 100 feet of the entrance to any polling place… the clerk or supervisor SHALL designate the no-solicitation zone and mark the boundaries:.

    Notice, neither the VFW, nor any other facility has the authority to designate the no-solicitation zone. It is either the clerk or the Supervisor of Elections and the statutes do not provide exceptions to the 100 feet rule. The Polling Place Procedures Manual, issued by the Florida Department of State Division of Elections clearly demonstrates how the no-solicitation zone and its boundaries are to be marked. Each polling location receives a pre-measured 100 ft. piece of rope in order to mark the 100 feet.

    I understand from a voter’s perspective it may seem as if one is running the gauntlet when approaching a polling location to vote; yet, the candidates and their supporters have rights protected by the First Amendment. If they become unruly, the statutes provide for a remedy and it is not imposing false restrictions or creating new zones.

  3. Magnolia says:

    I went to the VFW where the line was around the building this morning. Since noon, you can walk right in, so if you vote at the VFW and you haven’t voted yet, go now.

  4. Ken says:

    Four years ago I voted at The Palm Coast Community Center before work. I was the first person on line. Fast forward four years , the line this morning was from the door to main road at Community Center. The poll workers did a great job. Well done. I was on line for 25 minutes.

  5. Ron says:

    Can someone explain to me why exactly it is necessary to have BOTH a Romney representative AND a Republican Party representative? Isn’t that a bit of overkill??

    Next thing you know we’ll need a THIRD Republican observer representing the Tea Party Caucus.

    Simply ridiculous.

    • kmedley says:

      The answer to your question is simple; it’s the law. Each candidate, each political party and committees are allowed to have 1 poll watcher each.

  6. daveytickle says:

    As I left work at Hammock Dunes, I was dreading the long drive out to my voting place at St Johns Park. I just KNEW that there was going to be a long line and I was really tired. I tried to convince myself that I should just go home and lie to my friends about voting-but the old bastard in me rebelled and forced me to go to the polling place BEFORE I went home. Thank GOD! It was a quick in-n-out. I’m actually ashamed that I even considered that option.

  7. Alex says:

    During the day of election, all the political signs around the polling locations are annoying and will not change the outcome of the election. Not to mention the traffic hazard they create.

  8. SC says:

    Kudos to the VFW. I voted there for the primaries and is was a zoo in the parking lot because of all the campaign signs and campaign people. That was one of the reasons I voted early for the November election.

  9. confidential says:

    Great election process managed by our SOE Kimberle Weeks.
    In our precinct we worked very hard for all the voters and even the 3 poll watchers we had; two Republicans and one Democrat and we received appreciation from all for our dedicated attention to detail and cordial welcoming attitude.
    These two pages four sides ballots rendered our accu votes digital counter useless, so the count was manual from our register books and our book inspectors did a good job!

  10. NortonSmitty says:

    In Flagler Beach, I was going to drive by at about 9:30 AM and if there was a line, come back after work. No line, parked right across the street and was voting in two minutes. I was looking forward to a True The Vote or some other voter suppression fascist toady challenging my right to vote so I could get out a weeks worth of post-traumatic adrenalin on them but nothing. Everyone was disappointingly pleasant.

    So I followed my usual protocol voting pretty much straight Democrat, because I feel it is better to support the Spineless than the Evil. Except for President. I was torn. Do I vote for the worlds worst Socialist who made sure the Dow doubled in the first two years without one prosecution of the scammers that tanked the world or a real jobs program? Or the candidate with at least $200 Million in Swiss and offshore banks who’s religion says he must do all he can to fulfill the prophesy of war and Armageddon in the Middle East or burn in Hell? Decisions, decisions.

    I was almost going to say a wise ass comment of how Jefferson would be so proud right here, but after thinking about it, I believe he would.

    Because the citizens our ruling political class consider the dregs of our society, the poor ones who they consider unfit to vote, would not be denied this right. In spite of voter suppression laws like voter ID, residency, ballot confusion, intimidation and fraud, they won this election against long odds. Instead of being intimidated, they got angry. They showed up, stood in line for hours and voted in greater numbers than the last election to show they not only had the right to do so, but how much they value this right.

    And they voted in their best interest, just like the Founders planned. In spite of the money unleashed by Citizens United and shoved down their throats by the six Corporations that own the American media selling them lies, they saw through them and did the right thing in their eyes. Against all odds they ran up enough votes that it couldn’t be stolen. Not by Deibold voting machines, the Ohio Secretary of State or even the Supreme Court. The people persevered against the powers that be for a change.

    Thomas Jefferson would be proud to be an American today. I know I am.

  11. NortonSmitty says:

    My two favorite Florida voting stories:

    In Miami, the Saturday early voting lines ran around the block People stood in the sun for hours. Volunteers passed out bottles of water until the Republican poll watchers got a court order for them to stop. They said they were being bribed by water to vote for the Anti-Christ or something, so they knew the patriotic thing to do was to make them so thirsty they gave up and went home. How conservative.

    And in Palm Beach County, a poll watcher told a woman to leave because of her sweatshirt. She said it was illegal to show up with propaganda supporting a particular candidate. And she had a shirt that said M I T in large letters.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology. One T.

  12. Shane says:

    As a registered voter and someone who has had their place of employment that used to be a precinct before it was closed by the supervisor of elections, I am disgusted with how those things were handled. We had probably about 100-150 people come yesterday thinking they were still supposed to vote their. A sign was posted on the door 8 1/2×11 sheet of paper that had a map that still didn’t show the entire area and how it was divided into 3 precincts now. So all we could do is ask what the person’s address was and then try to figure out where to send them. Most of them wanted to show us their card to prove they still were supposed to vote there. People had cards that were issued this year and the precinct had not been changed. I think that if the Supervisor of Elections is going to close precincts, they should have a representative their to direct people instead of just a note on the door telling people where to go and better notifications. We had no problems helping anyone who asked, but it shouldn’t be our responsibility to do so… Some people were frustrated and said they weren’t going to drive all over to try and find where they were supposed to go.

  13. Donna Heiss says:

    I voted election day at precinct 22. I was a couple of days post op from major surgery. The poll workers were FABULOUS. THANK YOU AND KUDOS!

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