JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Early voting officially kicked off Monday.
The turnout was about 3.6% — over 3,300 people across Duval County early voted as polls closed at 6 p.m. Monday. Turnout was just about average, but is expected to improve as there are 12 more days left for voters to cast an early ballot.
At the Regency Branch Library polling location, 164 people came out to place their votes early. Most people told News4JAX that they prefer early voting to avoid crowds and to get things over with.
Denise Jefferson, who placed her vote at a Northwest Jacksonville location, said early voting is something she doesn’t want to forget because voting is important.
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“If things come up, I can be able to say I’ve already voted, nothing to worry about,” Jefferson said. “We’ve got a lot of things to weigh in on and make decisions.”
Voters have also expressed a lot of interest in the mayoral race. Tons of TV ads — both negative and positive — have been directed at voters to influence their votes.
While the ads are making an impact, they might not be in the way that candidates were hoping for.
“I don’t like it at all. I think it’s really sad that people get down to the point where they’re childish crap. Let’s talk about the issues. What are you going to do? How are you going to fix stuff?,” Bruce Wirz said.
Other voters said they are not paying attention to the ads.
“I base an individual by what they’re saying out the mouth and their track record, not what’s on the news,” Presidee Barrett said.
Although a few voters said they wanted to avoid crowds, they didn’t have too much to worry about Monday because the lines were steady, not long.
“I always vote early because I want my vote to count. I don’t want to take a chance of it not being counted the day of,” Wayne Cotton said.
Marta Blac, however, said she hoped to vote by mail but was forced to come early vote because of a mishap.
“I screwed up my mail and put tape on it. My daughter said, ‘No, this isn’t going to work,” Blac said.
Polls close at 6 p.m. and Jacksonville has 19 different sites for early voters to cast their ballots.
Early voting ends on March 19 and Election Day is Tuesday, March 21.