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Early Voting is Off and Running

Voters around the state began casting their ballots Monday in early voting program that will continue for the next two weeks leading up to the actual primary Election Day.

Counties across the state reported a steady stream of voters showing up on the first day for the election that will decide the highly contested primaries in the Republican governor's race between former Columbia/HCA executive Rick Scott and Attorney General Bill McCollum, and the Democratic U.S. Senate election between U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, South Florida businessman Jeff Greene and former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre.

RESOURCE: Find Early Voting Spots in Duval County

“I think you've got a lot of turmoil, a lot of political attacks going on,” said Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho, who is predicting that turnout in Tallahassee will surpass the 31 percent turnout of the 2008 primary. “I think in terms of the primary itself, there's a lot more attention.”

Politicians were plugging the start of early voting throughout the state at campaign events. McCollum had a series of stops with former Gov. Jeb Bush around Florida. Meek cast his own ballot in Miami Monday morning in between voter rallies and likely Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink met with supporters in Tallahassee urging them to vote.

“Get it out of the way,” Sink said. “Take advantage of early voting.”

County officials said the turnout was about on par with what they had expected and in comparison to past years. In Hillsborough County, 1,249 voters had shown up at the polls prior to 3 p.m., with polls being open until 6 p.m. In 2006, a total of 1,617 voters went to the polls on day one. In Miami-Dade, more than 2,000 people voted Monday, which officials said was about even with past years.

“We usually see a good number come out on the first day and then what happens is the second week, a lot of people start to turn out,” said Miami-Dade elections spokeswoman Christina White.

Heading into the primary, there are 4,601,771 Democrats registered in the state and 3,997,998 Republicans. There are about 2.1 million voters without a party affiliation

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