TAMPA, Fla. — Early voting across the Tampa Bay region started with strong voter turnouts.
Record days were reported by the supervisor of elections in Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties.
In Pasco County, 12,359 voters cast ballots, 8,407 voters cast ballots in Pinellas County and 24,063 in Hillsborough County.
“I thought it was very easy since we went through the line there are a lot more people in line so I’m glad we came as early as we did,” said voter Stephen Brodowski after voting in Pasco County.
According to state data, more than 14.4 million Floridians are actively registered in this election.
“We’ve never seen the enthusiasm about an election as this year. And everybody’s really had months and months of exposure and time to make up their mind and the candidates that have been here often we’ve been bombarded with television ads, mailers and everything else so people are really just ready to go and get it out of the way,” said ABC Action News political analyst Susan MacManus.
She said the high turnout isn’t unexpected.
“I think it’s really important that people not rush to assume that one candidate is gonna win over another just because of some of these early voting patterns. People vote at different times and even with the rush at the end of the day we probably will have only seen 2 or 3 million people have voted in Florida out of 14.4 million that are registered. There’s a lot of things that can happen between now and Nov. 3,” MacManus said.
She said Florida is critical in the race this year.
“It is the most competitive, biggest, most sought after, hardest to win state of all the swing states,” she said.
This year, election officials said voters can expect social distancing measures, including plexiglass, poll workers in masks, disposable stylus’ and cleaning measures. They can also expect lines.
“There will be a line because we are asking that people space themselves out 6 ft. apart and just because there is what appears to be a long line doesn’t mean that it’s going to move slowly right,” said Dustin Chase, the Pinellas County deputy supervisor of elections.
So far, election officials said things are off to a good start.
“It’s been exceedingly smooth. We’re on pace to have one of our busiest early voting days ever so I can’t say enough about the voters and the patience,” said Brian Corley, the Pasco County supervisor of elections.
Voters can check estimated wait times by visiting the websites of their supervisor of elections.