ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - Gretchen van Aken Johnson and her husband voted early Thursday in hopes of avoiding the crowds, but that's exactly found when they arrived.
"I was surprised it was so busy," she said. "And it feels very much that there are a lot of people out there that are definitely voting. A lot of people this time."
There are nearly 153,000 registered voters in St. Johns County, and by the time Election Day rolls around Tuesday, St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes predicts nearly 85 percent of those registered will vote.
"We have had a record absentee request for this election, and our voters are really getting out and early voting," Oakes said. "I am very encouraged, and I'm glad our voters are taking the opportunities to get out and vote."
By Thursday morning, 33,000 people had voted early in St. Johns County and more than 17,000 absentee ballots were returned. That's a 31 percent turnout with two days of early voting and Election Day still to come.
Vote totals through close of polls Wednesday
|Main-in ballots||Early votes||Percentage voted|
|St. Johns County||17,086||29,981||31%|
In a few cases, absentee votes won't count. Out of 16,000 that have been reviewed, 88 have been rejected, primarily because of no signature.
Those voting now or on Election Day should make sure their address is on file.
"I think it's important people know their addresses need to be updated before they go and vote," Oakes said. "It's especially for voters who have moved across county lines."
Don't expect to rush in and out this election. The ballot is long, and some amendments are complicated.
"I think they did a good job. The county sent out a sample ballot before, so we spent some time going over that and it made voting very easy," voter Fred King said.
Oakes said the busiest early voting precincts have been the Ponte Vedra Beach Library, Our Lady Star of the Sea, a church in Ponte Vedra, and precinct 101 in Julington Creek.
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