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Early voting ends with record numbers in Hillsborough County

12:10 PM, Nov 4, 2012   |    comments
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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- Thousands of people showed up Sunday to cast their ballots on the last day of early voting.

According to the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, a record high 28,728 early votes were cast, bringing the preliminary cumulative total to 166,937. That is even more than the 2008 general election.

In Tampa, the line wrapped around the Elections Service Center along North Falkenburg Road. At a location in St. Petersburg, the line stretched at least two city blocks. Over in Pasco County, it stretched onto the sidewalk and kept growing at a library in Land 'O Lakes.

Some voters waited in line more than two hours, but said it was worth it. "Oh, heavens, yes! It's absolutely worth the wait to vote. But I would've liked to have seen it a little shorter, but that's the way it is," said voter Mary Butler.

University of South Florida political professor Susan MacManus said early voting is not only popular in many states, but critical to the candidates.

"Early voting lets the campaigns and the parties keep track of who's already voted, so they don't waste time re-reaching those people when they need to be focusing more on those who have not yet voted," said MacManus.

She added it boils down to the battleground states of Florida and Ohio right now. And though we see all those early voters, there are still some who are undecided. "Really more undecided about whether they should go vote at all, as opposed to who they should vote for," said MacManus.

MacManus said those undecided voters right now are mostly made up of young people and women.

Polls open again Tuesday at 7 a.m.

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