Elections offices see good turnout for early voting

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BRADENTON - About 1.9 million Floridians have already cast ballots eight days before election day, and through Sunday more than 3,000 of them were cast in Manatee County.

When you break it down, that is nearly 1.4 million casting absentee ballots and more than 500,000 putting in their votes in person during the early voting period that began Saturday.

"Turnout's been great; the weekend was a good time to start, a lot of people off work," says Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Bob Sweat.  "They come out and they say thanks; it was a great time, a great day and they got a chance to vote. And a lot of people take it very, very seriously."

Some added that is also very convenient.

"I know who I want to win," said early voter Barbara Lodwick. "And it's a such a privilege to come out early and do it, I think it's one of the neatest things they've done in Florida."

"I feel that the election is way too long, and this is a shorter end for us to wait any longer," said Sheila Bellany, another Manatee County resident who chose to head to the polls early.

The only problem that people have seen so far is the lines, which is a good thing because officials said that means people are coming out early and making sure their vote counts in this election.

"We're going to fly out on Thursday morning to Indiana, and so I'm not going to be here to vote," said David Plummer. "So I'm going to wait in this long line and make sure my vote counts."

It is a wait that could signify a record-setting year for early voting in Manatee County.

"We've got 3,000 the first two days, and if we do a thousand the next few days that's six more.  So I think we're going to have a good turn out," Sweat said.

Supervisor of Elections in both Sarasota and Manatee counties urge voters to update address information before election day to help to ensure it goes smoothly and to avoid provisional ballots.

Early voting ends this Saturday at 7pm.