Duval's importance in Election 2012

Florida is largest battleground state, Duval County has high importance

A look at the importance of swing state Florida.
A look at the importance of swing state Florida.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With 29 electoral votes up for grabs, Florida is the largest of the battleground states and it's the reason why both Mitt Romney and President Obama's campaigns have spent so much time here in Florida.
Northeast Florida is a battleground within a battleground, especially in Duval County.

The campaigning has almost come to a close and for millions of Florida residents, it's finally time to cast their vote. In Duval County, the voter turnout this election could be higher than ever before.

"The line was out the door and around the block," voter Jamie Arthur said. "It's good to see people turning out."

That's what Arthur saw at a local early voting location over the weekend, and this morning, all indications point to more of the same.

"Be prepared to wait," Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland said. "If your in line, you can still vote. But it may be well after 7 before you vote. Get there, be prepared for a long day."

"People are real energetic and there's a lot of issues. Not just the president's race, but the senate race," voter matthew Posgay said. "There's a lot for people to focus on."

More than 44 percent of registered citizens have already voted in Duval County.

The Supervisor of Elections Office expects more than 80 percent of the population to vote, compared to the 2008 election, where voter turnout was 77 percent.

Historically, Duval County hasn't backed a Democratic nominee for president since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

In 2008, President Barack Obama lost the region's five counties (Baker, Clay, Duval, St. Johns and Nassau) to Republican John McCain by nearly 105,000 votes.

Voters say they aren't surprised at the number of the people expected to make their voices heard.

"The economy is tired. We need jobs. Bottom line," Voter Karl Cherry said. "Fortunately I have one."

"I want to make sure the person I voted for gets an opportunity to make the change we need in America," voter Latoya Radford added.