Waits up to 3 hours on final day of early voting

Published On: Nov 02 2012 10:54:59 PM EDT   Updated On: Nov 03 2012 03:44:39 PM EDT

Thousands of early voters packed lines and parking lots Friday, just one day before the last day of early voting in Duval County before Tuesday's election.


The lines at northeast Florida early voting sites Saturday were long, with waits of up to three hours at one Duval County library.

One the final day to cast a ballot before Tuesday's election, several of Jacksonville's 17 early voting sites reported waits of an hour or more.   At 3:30 p.m., the estimated wait at the Highlands Library was three hours.

Lines in surrounding counties were not as long, with the longest reported at mid-dafternoon Saturday was 30 minutes at St. Johns County's Julington Creek Annex.

"It took me about an hour and 15 minutes to actually get a ballot and into a booth," said Reginald Nettles told Channel 4 after voting on Friday.

"I am afraid the polls won't be open long enough on Election Day, so I came in early to get it done," said David Scianna.  

As voting began Saturday, more than 3.5 million Floridians had already cast ballots, 200,000 in Duval County alone.

Vote totals through close of polls Friday

Mail-in ballotsEarly votes Percentage voted
Duval County57,02614,477636%
St. Johns County   44,20219,36042%
Clay County16,11534,90638%
Nassau County9,36515,30047%

For voters like Charlotte Paris, procrastination wasn't an option. 

"It feels good. It feels great to be part of it, it's such an important election. It makes me feel like I did the right thing and I haven't been a slacker," said Paris.  

Early voting sites across Duval County have been buzzing since they opened on October 27.

Friday was the heaviest day of early voting so far this year, and even more were expected on Saturday.

"We've had a great turnout today. Saturday we anticipate to have record numbers, but there will be lines," said Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland. "Don't get discouraged because if you think there won't be long lines on Election Day; there'll be just as many lines on Election Day. Just get it out of the way."

Voters planning on taking advantage of early voting are encouraged to be there early.   Gov. Rick Scott and other state leaders have turned down requests to extend early voting to Sunday, but said the sites will remain open Saturday until the last person in line gets the chance to vote.

"I would advise people to go early tomorrow morning," said Holland on Friday evening. "The early bird gets the worm."

The supervisor of elections websites for Duval County and the St. Johns County have early voting site wait times posted.


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