|Published:||Nov 05, 2012 6:18 PM EST|
|Updated:||Nov 05, 2012 6:40 PM EST|
LEE COUNTY, Fl. - The early voting lines in Southwest Florida were not much shorter than big cities like Miami.
But we wanted to know if people who took advantage of early voting helped overall turnout?
Early voting has been an option for voters since 2004. Lee County Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington says while it certainly boosted overall voter turnout then she doesn't see it having the same impact even in a neck and neck presidential race like this one.
"I still think it's going to be busy," says Michael Bukowski.
Michael Bukowski voted last week. While some folks waited more than three hours to cast their ballots early, others like Deanna Benson plan on heading to the polls Tuesday.
"Voting day is election day so that's what I'm going to do... there really is no excuse because you have absentee ballots, you can go early so there really is no excuse not to vote," Benson says.
Since 2004, people have had three ways to cast their vote: absentee ballots, early voting or at the polls on election day. But Harrington says, more options does not automatically equal more voters.
"I don't think it changes the turnout that much... it just alleviates the pressure from the polling locations on election day," she says.
In fact, this year, Lee County saw fewer people voting early. Back in 2008, nearly 65 thousand voters turned out for early voting. This year, only about 52,000 did. Four years ago, Lee County saw the second highest overall voter turnout in the state at 83 percent.
"I'm hoping that we get at least close to that. Probably better than 70 percent I would imagine," she adds.
For voters like Bukowski, he hopes those who have not voted yet help boost that number.
"This is a crucial election, it's a close call by both parties... you can't complain what goes on with the economy if you don't put your opinion in," he adds.
Harrington says while the early voting numbers were not as big this year, their absentee ballot numbers were. Already they have well over 83,000 checked in. That's compared to 81,000 in all back in 2008.