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Palm Coast Thursday, Mar. 10, 2016 4 years ago

Presidential fever: 2016's early voting is more than triple what it was in 2012

Supervisor of Elections: 'Convenience voting is where people are headed.'
by: Brian McMillan Executive Editor

When Flagler County’s Republican voters hit the polls for the presidential preference primary in 2012, there were 1,861 votes cast, according to Supervisor of Elections Kaiti Lenhart.

This year, Lenhart said, “We had that in the first two days.”

As of 4:50 p.m. March 10, the total of early votes had reached 6,947, or about 3.7 times the number from 2012 — and there are still two full days left to cast a vote early. Registered Republicans and Democrats can vote 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday this week, at the Flagler County Public Library, the Supervisor of Elections Office and the Palm Coast Community Center.

It’s not entirely a surprise that the early voting totals are higher this year, Lenhart said, because in 2012, it was a closed Republican primary only; no Democrats challenged Barack Obama that year. This year, Democrats are also voting in the presidential preference primary.

This year, the turnout is still heavily Republican. When you combine early votes and mailed-in absentee ballots, Republicans are leading Democrats by a tally of 7,998 to 4,446.

About 70% of the absentee ballots have been returned this year, which was a good number, Lenhart said.

“Convenience voting is where people are headed,” she added.

There is even a movement to allow people to vote from their smartphones, but security issues prevent that as of yet.

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