Commentary: Trampling on Florida voters' rights

Whatever happens Tuesday when voters are to pick Miami-Dade’s next mayor and two commissioners — plus various proposed county charter changes — will you be able to say that your choices were considered because you voted?

Too few registered voters can say that today. Yet they will be the first to gripe about the winners in the May 24 special election. They’ll complain that county government is broken, and that they don’t vote because the fix is in.

A pity party won’t do. Even if you believe the choices before you are subpar — we don’t ascribe to that thinking — citizenship carries as much responsibility as it affords each American the right to vote. You shouldn’t complain if you don’t vote.

Early voting has been anemic even though more people came out to vote to recall former Mayor Carlos Alvarez in March — 208,448 cast ballots with almost nine-in-10 for recall — than went to vote in August 2008 for his second term.

Worse yet, a new law signed by Gov. Rick Scott Thursday puts the brakes on early voting starting now. It means there will be no early voting sites open this Sunday — unless a judge rules otherwise. That was up in the air as of this writing.

Former state Rep. Marcelo Llorente, a candidate for mayor, was right to file a lawsuit to challenge the cancelled Sunday election. The Miami-Dade County elections department had little choice to close down. Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections Lester Sola has to follow the new state law, even though the County Commission approved early voting through Sunday.

To read the complete editorial, visit www.miamiherald.com.