Election Day: Voters flock to polls in Florida

Sunshine State seen as key in presidential election

ORLANDO, Fla. – As polls open Tuesday morning across the Sunshine State, Florida is once again poised to make history.

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Millions of residents are expected to flock to the polls, where their votes could decide whether Republican Donald Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton becomes the next president.

Both candidates have tenaciously fought to try to win the battleground state, since Florida's 29 electoral college votes could tip the election. Florida famously decided the 2000 election after George W. Bush won the state by just 537 votes over Al Gore.

Clinton and Trump and their allies have spent in excess of $120 million ahead of Election Day, according to Kantar Media's political ad tracker.

The two nominees -- as well as their top backers -- repeatedly made swings through the state in order to boost turnout among their supporters.

Meanwhile, Florida voters are deciding whether Republican Sen. Marco Rubio deserves a second term.

The election in Florida also will send at least eight new members to Congress, play a critical role in the presidential race and decide whether to broaden access to medical marijuana.

Rubio is being challenged by Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy. The second-term congressman has repeatedly attacked Rubio for missing votes while running for president and supporting Trump.

The Senate race has been surprisingly close considering Rubio has a huge money and name recognition advantage. Republicans have criticized Murphy for embellishing his education and professional experience.

In addition, Florida voters will be asked for the second time in two years to approve a constitutional amendment that would legalize medical use of marijuana and broaden access beyond the limited therapeutic applications approved by the legislature.

The ballot question needs at least 60 percent support to pass, a threshold it barely missed in 2014, when 57.6 percent of voters backed the idea.

The effort is spearheaded by millionaire personal injury lawyer John Morgan, who has spent several million dollars pushing for medical marijuana. The measure seems to have more support than it did two years ago, especially after the Legislature failed to pass a bill that would expand a 2-year-old law that allows limited medical use of noneuphoric marijuana.

Florida has nearly 12.9 million voters.

They break down like this: nearly 4.9 million Democrats, nearly 4.6 million Republicans and more than 3.4 million voters not registered with either major party. That's almost 1 million more voters than the 2012 presidential election, when there were fewer than 4.3 million Republicans and nearly 4.8 million Democrats.

Although Republicans have had bigger gains than Democrats since 2012, the fastest growing voting block is Floridians who don't register with a party at all. That number has grown by 517,026.