Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Early Vote Likely to Be Higher Than '08; 16 Percent of Voters in Northeast Florida Have Already Cast Their Ballots

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Early Vote Likely to Be Higher Than '08; 16 Percent of Voters in Northeast Florida Have Already Cast Their Ballots

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Dixon

Six days before election day, 146,503 registered voters in Northeast Florida - about 16 percent - have already voted.

Overall, Republicans have a 13,034-vote advantage. That includes in person early voting and people who voted by mail.

The GOP far outpaces Democrats in Clay, St. Johns and Nassau counties, but that lead is dulled by Democrat's 11,294-vote advantage in Duval County.

Area election officials say that across party lines they expect higher early voting numbers than in 2008, the last presidential election.

"I see it being a banner year. We had the biggest day we've ever had with 7,780," said Vicky Oakes, St. Johns County's supervisor of elections. "Our biggest day in 2008 was 5,693."

Clay County Supervisor of Elections Chris Chambliss said his county is also breaking records.

"I think on the very first day, it was the largest turnout ever in Clay County," he said.

Duval County election officials expect to surpass 2008 numbers but said a 2011 election reform bill that reduced early voting days has them behind pace.

"We are still playing catch-up. We had more days in 2008," said Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland. "As of Tuesday, compared to this point in 2008, we are a bit behind." He said he expects to be at 2008 numbers by Friday and surpass them with "a big Saturday," which is the last day of early voting.

Holland said the decision to hold early voting for 12 hours each day will help overcome the reduced days. As part of the election legislation, officials had the option to stay open between six and 12 hours each day.

Each county in Northeast Florida decided to hold early voting hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., the maximum allowed.

The lengthy lines seen in some South Florida counties have not been a big concern locally. The longest were roughly an hour over the weekend in Duval County. To cut down on voting lines, it is recommended that voters read their sample ballot before heading to the polls.

WHERE TO VOTE

Election Day is Tuesday. Early voting continues through Friday in Georgia and Saturday in Florida, at the following locations.

FLORIDA

BAKER COUNTY

7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Baker County Supervisor of Elections

(904) 259-6339, bakerelections.com

Main office: 32 N. Fifth St., Macclenny

CLAY COUNTY

7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Clay County Supervisor of Elections

(904) 269-6350, clayelections.com

Main office: 1417-1 S. Orange Ave., Green Cove Springs

Fleming Island Library: 1895 Town Center Blvd.

Orange Park Library: 2054 Plainfield Ave.

Middleburg Clay-Hill Library: 2245 Aster Ave.

Keystone Heights Tax Collector's Office: 275 S. Lawrence Blvd.

DUVAL COUNTY

7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Duval County Supervisor of Elections

(904) 630-1414, duvalelections.com

Main Office: 105 E. Monroe St.

Supervisor Of Elections Branch Office: 5200-2 Norwood Ave. …

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