Florida voter turnout high for primary election

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Polls closed at 7:00 p.m. in Tuesday’s primary election; and if early voting is any indication, turnout numbers should be up locally and across the state. The primary election still has a much lower turnout than a general election, but Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent says because of high turnout through in-person early voting and vote-by-mail she anticipates a record turnout for this primary election.

“For the mail-in ballots, so far we’ve had: 36,432; and for early voting: 9,774.

“So, going into today, before we opened the polls, we had 15% plus, voter turnout.”

How does that compare to earlier primaries?

“Much more than earlier primaries. In earlier primaries we only had, for early voting, around 6,000 early voters and we have at least 10,000-20,000 of the vote-by-mail ballots increase over the 2014 and the 2012.”

Do you have a feeling on today’s voting turnout?

“Well, right now we’re at 20%. Then the skies just opened up, down here. I have a concern that that’s going to impact the turnout. We’re looking at about 25%, which is higher than 2014 and 2012.”

Do you have the percentages for those two years?

“Yeah. For 2014 it’s 21.32% for 2012 it was 16.47%. I’m hoping for at least 25% today.”

Nearly two million Floridians cast ballots before primary election day. According to the Florida Division of Elections website nearly 536,000 voters cast their ballots during early in-person voting.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner says Tuesday’s primary election was running smoothly.

The bus agencies of at least two local counties are offering free rides to the polls with a current voter identification card.

PSTA offering free bus rides to polls in Pinellas County

HART is offering free bus rides to polls in Hillsborough.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.