Mitt Romney carries northeast Florida
Barack Obama comes within 4% in Duval County, wins Alachua County
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Gov. Mitt Romney carried every northeast Florida county, although President Barack Obama came within about 4 percentage points in Duval County in the presidential election.
Romney carried Duval by only about 15,000 more votes than Obama.
Romney won every neighboring county by a landslide, winning Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties with about 70 percent each.
At 10 p.m., Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland said about 71 percent of registered voters had voted before the last seven precincts were counted.
Holland had predicted a turnout of 80 percent or more.
The line began forming outside Fort Caroline Christian Church at 5:30 a.m., with lines reported at most Jacksonville precincts when the doors opened.
"I wanted to be one of the first ones to get my vote in," Jane Baulk said. "Sorry I didn't do it earlier."
Voters and campaign workers carried umbrellas against a steady rain that started just before the polls opened Tuesday.
Channel 4 received isolated reports of issues -- mostly ballot scanners not working -- but they were all fixed quickly. Election workers allowed voting to continue, and the ballots cast while the scanners were down were placed in sealed envelopes to be counted at the end of the day. Voters who cast ballots during that time were invited to come back at 7 p.m. to watch their votes being counted.
Two precincts went dark when the power went out in part of Riverside that also affected St. Vincent's Hospital. One of those precincts continued to vote by flashlight, but the other had to close for about one hour until the power was restored.
Other voters didn't get word that their precinct had changed as Duval County consolidated from 256 to 198 voting sites this year.
Crowds picked up again during lunch hour and remained steady after 5 p.m., when many people headed to vote after getting off work.
Election officials said most voters were informed about what was on the ballot and predictions of three-hour waits caused by people having to read descriptions of all 11 constitutional amendments never materialized.
At Green Cove Springs City Hall, voting was also going smoothly and wait times were only about 10 minutes for much of the day.
"Haven't really had any great reports of huge lines," said Chris Chambless, Clay County's supervisor of elections. "I think it's just consistent and steady throughout the day."
Chambless said voter turnout was about 70 percent. He was expecting between 80 and 85 percent voter turnout for the county.
"Clay County is very fortunate to have a strong voting population. So, no, I'm not surprised," he said. "Of course, Fleming Island is really strong. Just about every single polling location in Fleming Island is in the high 60s and 70s percentile right now. So it's going to be strong."
The record for voter turnout in a presidential race in Clay County was 87 percent in 1992. Republican turnout Tuesday in the county was outpacing Democrats by nearly 3 to 1.
In St. Johns County, Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes said about 25 percent of registered voters had voted Tuesday. Add that to the 49 percent who voted early or absentee, and St. Johns County's turnout was at about 74 percent.
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