1-in-5 have voted in Florida primary
Early voting ended Saturday in most counties; Sunday in Duval and Bradford
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Just over 2 millions ballots in the presidential primary were cast in Florida over the last two weeks, and that many more voters are expected Tuesday, when all precincts are open on Election Day.
Just over 21 percent of Duval County's 431,542 registered Democratic and Republican voters cast ballots, either at one of 18 early voting sites in Jacksonville or by absentee ballot. Eight years ago, the last time a presidential primary was held where both parties were selecting a nominee, only 10 percent of Jacksonville's voters cast ballots early.
Duval County's supervisor of elections, Mike Hogan, has predicted a turnout of 45-50 percent.
In 10 days of early voting in St. Johns County, 25 percent of eligible voters cast ballots. Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes has predicted a 62 percent turnout.
"People are interested. They're engaged. We're getting ready to elect a new president, and now it's Florida's turn to have their say who is there," Oakes said last week.
Clay County had almost 19 percent voters already cast ballots, and 24 percent of Nassau County party voters either mailed-in a ballot or voted early.
On Saturday, Donald Trump tweeted about voter fraud in Florida, belittling Rubio and saying that the state chairman and minions are working overtime trying to rig the vote. A second tweek said the Trump campaign was asking law enforcement to check for dishonest early voting. On Monday, both the Division of Elections and the Department of Law Enforcement say no complaints have been received.
All precincts in all Florida counties will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.
The biggest surprise for voters may by how many names are on the ballot, particularly on the Republican side. The ballot was printed in December before many candidates dropped out, so there are 13 names on the GOP ballot.
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Sunday morning, the final day of early voting, there was no line for early voting at the supervisor of elections downtown, but the crowds did grow through the day.
“Usually, the Sunday prior to a major election is a strong push," said News4Jax political analyst Jennifer Carroll. "The churchgoers will come, and the church will encourage participation from their members."
One voter did said why he feels it's important to be involved in choosing the next president.
“Florida is a pretty good depiction of the country as a whole. So, Florida usually picks the winner. And, obviously this is a crazy election year. So, we want to make sure that we participate,” Will Toraason said.
Toraason's wife, Jamie, admitted it’s been tough to keep track of everything, because she feels the race has been more of a circus than about politics. She's not sure their young son, Palmer, is understanding everything they’re showing him about politics or not.
“I don’t know how much of it he understands, but we’re just trying to get him involved so he knows what it looks like and what he’ll be able to do," she said.
Whether it’s lack of enthusiasm for candidates on the Democratic side or just that more the Republican race is more competitive, more than 300,000 more Republican ballots than Democratic ballots have been cast over the past two weeks. Carroll said that is just one more thing about this election that hasn't been normal.
“It’s not typical, but it’s typical in this primary election," Carroll said. "Where we’ve seen throughout the other (primary) states."
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