ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- Election officials are thrilled with the early voting turnout in St. Johns County.
Mary Gowens never misses an election. This year, she didn't take any chances waiting until Election Day to cast her vote.
"I want to make sure my vote is cast and hopefully my candidates will win," said Gowens after she cast her ballot Thursday.
That sentiment is spreading in St. Johns County where people are packing the polls early. Supervisor of Elections, Vicky Oakes, warns if you wait until Tuesday to cast your ballot, you're going to pay for it with long lines.
Oakes is calling on voters to come in early and people are listening.
Staffers at the Supervisor of Elections office in St. Johns County tell Action News, more than 1,000 voters came through the doors Wednesday.
St. Johns County voters requested a record-setting 26,000 absentee ballots for 2012. As of Thursday, 30,000 people have already voted.
You should know, 50,000 voters cast their ballots early in 2008. Oakes expects that number will be surpassed this time around.
"Friday and Saturday, our last two days of early voting are traditonally the highest turnout," said Oakes. "I'm expecting about 10,000 voters to early vote each day."
So as candidates work to extend their name recognition in the home stretch, Gowens is proud to say her vote wasn't wasted. "It's a priviledge for people in America to vote and if you don't exercise that priviledge then you will lose it."
In Duval County, Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland says it is too early to tell whether the county will have a record turnout but that it is possible if it has a strong Friday and saturday.
In Clay County, Supervisor of Elections Chris Chambless said he is fairly confident that his county will have a record turnout.
Polls are open until 7 p.m. through Saturday in Duval, Clay and St. Johns County. To track wait times at polling sites in St. Johns County, log onto