Long lines expected on last day of early voting

Number of early voters steadily rises


ORLANDO, Fla. – In the rush to vote early, thousands of people are waiting in long lines to cast their ballot.

Saturday is the final day to vote early before Election Day on Tuesday. The expected wait times Friday were as long as two and half hours at early voting locations in parts of Central Florida.

"It was 6:45 when I got here, so [it took me] almost two hours," said Gladys Smith.

Smith was one of 2,938 people who stood in line at the Alafaya Library on Friday to cast her ballot.

"There's a second line inside, so you think you're done when you're finished with the first line, and then you get to stand in another line to actually put your ballot in," said Smith.

It was a similar scene across town at the West Oaks branch in Ocoee, with hundreds of people standing in the trees as the line to vote snaked through the library grounds. But voters who spoke to Local 6 said they were not deterred.

"No, we're going to stick it out. We got this," said Brittany Smith.

"I don't care if I'm here until tomorrow at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I'm staying and I am voting," said Kim Nazzaro.

Most people came prepared with food, chairs and books.

Voter Leslie Guzman who was passing out bug spray.

"Yes, I'm passing out bug spray," said Guzman. "We were camping last weekend and so I figured I was getting bit up so I know everybody else is."

The number of people turning out for early voting is rising. On day one, 13,325 votes were cast in Orange County. On Friday, 19,664 people voted early. Seminole County set a record on Friday for the number of votes cast on a single early voting day with 9,440.

"Well I decided to come [Friday] because tomorrow I know will be ridiculously crowded," said Jennifer Grant.

"Yes, it's going to be 10 times worse," said Chanel Currie.

The polls in Orange County will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, except at the downtown Orlando Library, which will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. In most other counties, the polls will be open on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Florida legislature reduced early voting from 14 days in 2008 to eight days this election.

Several people, including the non-partisan League of Women Voters, have asked Governor Rick Scott to extend early voting by one day and allow the polls to open on Sunday. However, the Governor's office said Scott is satisfied with the process.

Anyone who is standing in line by 8 p.m. in Orange County or 7 p.m. in many other counties will still be able to vote early.

After Saturday, voters will have to show up on Election Day at their assigned precinct or vote with an absentee ballot.