'Astronomical' turnout of early voters - FOX 13 News

'Astronomical' turnout of early voters

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Thousands of voters are finding the ballot box early. Some voted by mail, some voted early in person, and some chose a hybrid version: receiving a ballot in the mail, then dropping it off in person.

According to the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Office, close to 167,000 people voted early and 144,000 voted by mail. Those numbers are up from the last presidential election, explains spokesman Travis Abercrombie.

"They account for 51 percent of the turnout. The turnout in 2008 was 72 percent, so if those numbers hold true, we're looking at a turnout that's going to be increased by 71 percent. I don't want to give an exact percent, but the numbers will be a lot higher," Abercrombie said.

In Pinellas County, more than 39,000 people voted early. By mail, that number jumps significantly to 214,000.

Election officials say the turnout rate is already seven percent higher than it was in 2008.

Over the weekend, Democrats in Orange and Miami counties filed lawsuits to extend the voting opportunities. According to the lawsuit, inadequate polling facilities in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties led to long lines -- sometimes six or seven hours long.

Officials expect Tuesday's official election day to be busy too.

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