Early voting will end at 7PM Saturday night, despite calls from Democrats and third party groups to extend the early voting period. A long ballot and record turnout are creating long lines at the polls and as Whitney Ray tells us, there are reports of people waiting four, five even six hours to vote.
At the back of a long line, two FAMU college coaches are using their lunch break to cast an early vote.
One woman dragged a chair and a book along, anticipating a wait. Other voters stood in line and read a sample ballot. Breyona Bolden was dancing after she cast her ballot, her hour wait finally over.
But by noon on Friday, the wait had grown to an hour and a half and in some parts of the state people were reporting five and six hour waits.
Several factors are contributing to the long lines. There’s record turnout in some counties and statewide early voting has been cut from 14 days to eight. There are also 11 constitutional amendments on the ballot, which take an estimated 15 minutes to read through.
“Voting should be an easy and accessible process,” said League Spokeswoman Jessica Lowe Minor.
The League of Women Voters is joining calls from the Florida Democrats, asking Governor Rick Scott to extended early voting.
“We’re quit frustrated that we are seeing these long lines,” said Minor.
Florida’s Lt. Governor and Mitt Romney’s state Campaign Director both say they see no reason to extend early voting hours past the Saturday 7PM deadline.
“We still have days to vote. It’s not the end yet and we still have Election Day as well,” said Carroll.
“There’s no unusual circumstances. There’s no weather related events,” said Adam Putnam.
Democrats are winning the early voting battle. Party leaders say that’s why the governor won’t answer their calls for an early voting extension. Here is a look at a party breakdown of early and absentee voting so far: 3.4 million votes have been cast. 1.472 million by Democrats and about just under 1.4 million for Republicans . Third Party and NPA voters have cast a little more than half a million ballots.