JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It was nearly record turnout for early voting this election. Almost 40 percent of all Florida voters have already cast a ballot. That's about 4 1/2 million Floridians, out of a total 12 million registered voters in Florida. And in Duval County alone, 174,000 voted early this year.
In the 2008 Presidential election, voters had 14 days to cast their ballot early, this year, they only had eight.
That concerned Florida Democrats enough to file a Federal lawsuit asking for early voting to be extended. Florida State Representative Mia Jones said, "We had folks that were waiting in very long lines for hours. I had a cousin that waited in line for 3 hours in order to exercise his right to vote."
Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll says the cutback was necessary. She says, "You have to hire people, you have to have a machine, you have to rent the space. The bottom line is we have to be responsible with regards to the money and making sure we're efficient with what we're doing."
Ultimately polls were only ordered to open Sunday in four Florida counties. But even then, things did not go smoothly. Some voters in Broward County Sunday chanted "let us vote" outside an early polling site.
Deputy Supervisor Christina White says election officials were overwhelmed by the size of the crowd in Broward County on Sunday. That was one of the locations ordered to reopen by a federal judge.
With limited staff and one printer, election officials decided to shut down the main office. Voters banged on the front doors and demanded to vote, prompting staff to reopen the office about an hour later.
The county was accepting absentee ballots for four hours on Sunday at its main office. Broward County is allowing voters who made an appointment to pick up absentee ballots on Sunday.