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Lines at early voting sites as experts predict record turnout

Voters at Murray Hill Library, Southeast Library dealing with long wait

Long lines at Southeast Main Library have voters waiting 45 minutes to cast ballots Sunday
Long lines at Southeast Main Library have voters waiting 45 minutes to cast ballots Sunday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The lines were long at several early voting sites around Jacksonville on Saturday and Sunday as Duval County and the state are on track to set a record for votes received before a midterm Election Day.

By Saturday night, when early voting ended in most Florida counties, 4.8 million ballots had been received, according to the state's Division of Elections. That's 36 percent of registered voters in the state.

St. Johns County's website shows nearly 44 percent of voters had cast ballots by Saturday night when early voting closed. In Nassau County, 41 percent had voted when early voting ended Saturday, and in Clay County, just over 36 percent of voters had cast ballots.

In Northeast Florida, only Duval and Bradford counties offer early voting on Sunday.

In Jacksonville, almost 34 percent had voted either in person or by mail as early voted opened Sunday.

Some said they had to wait 90 minutes to cast their ballot Saturday at Murray Hill Library. Gardner Davis was one of those waiting in line and took photos of the crowds.

Mike Hogan, Duval County supervisor of elections, admitted that the Murray Hill Library location is very busy as it is a small facility with limited parking. He urged early voters to check the Duval County elections website before they go to an early voting site to check on wait times. Unlike on Election Day, voters can go to any early voting site in the county.

There is a color code system on its website for wait times. Green is 15 minutes, yellow is 30 minutes and red means an hourlong wait to vote. 

VOTER'S GUIDE: What's on the ballot, where and when to vote

While some were bothered by the wait, others saw it as an encouraging sign.

"I think it is fantastic," voter John Lucas said. "A lot more people are turning out now then would normally on a midterm election, and it is simply because of the issues that are so charged up right now."


About the Authors:

Florida-born multi-media journalist pays special attention to issues in St. Johns County.