Early voting is setting records this year. As of Friday, more than 800 thousand early voters had cast a ballot. The number is almost double the number of people who early voted the last time a governor’s race was on the ballot.
Early voting began in 2004 with a whimper. Two years later, 379 thousand people voted early. This year, the number is already double 2006. Jennifer Davis is a Spokesman for Florida's Secretary of State. “I think people are getting used to the concept. In 2006 it was still a fairly new concept of voting, and people have gotten used to the convenience so they are taking advantage of it.”
Early voting has forced campaigns to begin spending sooner, and less funded candidates find it more difficult to compete. At this library, voting is steady. Early voting ends this weekend, which is the weekend before the election and traditionally the busiest of early voting days.
We asked John Anthamatten why he was an early voter.
Reporter: “What drove you out today to vote?”
Anthamatten: “We just don’t want to go through the hassle on next Tuesday”.
In 2008, long lines forced Governor Charlie Crist to extend early voting hours. In the end, more people ended up voting early or by absentee in 2008 than voted on Election Day. Jennifer Davis remembers it well. “In 2008 we saw more people vote before Election Day through absentee and early voting than we saw on Election Day”
Reporter: “Do you expect that to continue?”
Davis: “We actually saw it in the primary and we expect that trend to continue”.
Voter turnout in Non presidential years averages between 40 and 55 percent. In Presidential years, the number jumps to 70 percent