Early voting got off to a robust start in Broward County, where voters eagerly stood in line for five hours or more to cast ballots in a cliff-hanger of a presidential race. “We’ve had very few complaints,” Broward elections official Fred Bellis said outside one voting hall. “People have stood in line five hours and said, ‘Thank you for giving me the privilege to vote.’” Elections officials reported a smooth day at their 17 polling sites, where by 1 p.m., some 13,000 ballots had been cast. Voters were still casting ballots at 10 p.m. in three cities, because of long lines. There were hitches here and there: voters in Tamarac were towed when they parked in a private lot, a printer at the Main Library in Fort Lauderdale was on the fritz in the morning, several voters passed out in lines. But by and large, voters on the first day of early voting in Florida got what they expected – a long, long wait to the ballot box. Early voting continues until Nov. 3.
The Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Office opened 14 sites for voters Saturday, and reported a mostly hassle-free day, despite the lengthy waits. “I brought my Kindle,’’ said Kathleen Gearhart, after about an hour in the line at the West Regional Library in Plantation.
She said she didn’t want to risk the unforeseen – an illness, a storm – that could keep her from casting her ballot in the presidential race between President Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney, where Florida’s vote is very much in play. “I believe my vote has never been as important as this election,’’ she said, “and I didn’t want anything to stop me.’’