Just as South Carolina wrapped up its primary election Saturday, early voting began in the next republican primary state, Florida! Nearly 500,000 absentee ballots have been requested statewide, and here locally, the Republican Party of Bay County kicked off the day with a conglomeration of presidential campaigns in a uniting liberty rally.
Bay County, along with 61 other Florida counties, opened the polls Saturday for voters to cast ballots and the republican party of Bay County celebrated with a rally in McKenzie Park.
Political front runners Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul all had local supporters out cheering them on.
Bay County Supervisor of Elections, Mark Andersen says he doesn't care the outcome, just that each registered voter casts a ballot.
"I can't care who wins. I just want someone to win big, because when it gets to re-counts, it makes my job tough," said Mark Andersen as he addressed the crowd at Saturday’s rally.
But a tougher job, the one who wins the republican primary--and takes on the race for president. With big issues to tackle, republicans are looking to paint the White House red.
"We've got nearly everyone who's running for election local and statewide here today. And we all republicans, we all get along. We know that in the end, we got to get together to save this country. What I think we've got to save the country. I believe we're in dire strength right now. So we may be all out here with a different campaign right now but we'll get together in August,” said Ron Paul supporter, Glen Leirer.
For the first time in Bay County history, early voting is now open seven days a week. Polling hours will be from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the four early voting precincts. However, on election day you must vote at your assigned voting location.
Early voting ends next Saturday, the 28th. Andersen says early voting numbers are on the rise and could reach up to 60 percent this year.