JACKSONVILLE, FLa. – Tens of thousands of voters anxious to cast ballots in person were lined up as early voting opened Monday across Florida, but the lines moved quickly and no serious problems were reported in the key swing state.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, millions of Florida voters trying to avoid long lines on Election Day are expected to vote during two weeks of early voting.
Photos showed lines outside early voting sites in Duval, St. Johns, Clay and Nassau counties. By 7:50 p.m., county websites showed 28,476 early votes cast in Duval County, 9,503 in St. Johns County, 7,959 in Clay County and 3,923 in Nassau County.
“I planned early on to bring my family down to make sure we all voted,” voter Altemese Sykes said. “I was adamant that on the first day, we’re going down to vote.”
Each site has a dedicated person to wipe down equipment, and the voting stations are spaced out more than usual, but masks are optional.
“We can’t require a voter to wear a mask and we can’t require a voter to social distance. That’s called voter suppression,” Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan said.
The early voting sites in Jacksonville are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday through Sunday, Nov. 1. Dozens more sites opened in neighboring counties on Monday, but most end on Halloween. A few counties don’t open in-person sites until later in the week.
“I actually would vote on Election Day but this election is the most important in my lifetime so I’m going to make sure my vote counts and vote now,” Christian George said Monday.