More than 6 million Floridians have already cast their ballots in early voting, either in person or by absentee ballot.
That is more than the total 5.9 million votes cast by registered voters in 2000. George W. Bush versus Al Gore was the closest race in recent history.
Floridians will likely never forget their role in that epic election. “Hanging chads” were the hallmark of a vote that started in polling booths and ended in the U.S. Supreme Court. Perhaps that memory is why so many voters headed to the polls early in this even more contentious presidential race.
“I wanted to be done with it,” said Juan Dyer, a Hispanic voter in Port St. Lucie, Florida, who voted early. “There is a lot going on on both sides. The country is divided. I just wanted to be done with it, not pay attention to the commercials and all the other things coming out.”
Hispanic voters, who represent 17 percent of Florida’s electorate, are particularly polarized in this election. Republican nominee Donald Trump has angered many of them with his talk of building a wall to keep immigrants out.
“He is not material to be president of the United States,” said another Hispanic voter on a power walk with his wife Monday morning in Port St. Lucie. Both voted early as well.
“I don’t want to say anything about him, but I have bad words about him,” his wife said in regard to Trump.
Florida, with its 29 electoral votes, is an absolute must for Trump to win the White House. As of Monday, the race in the state was nearly even. Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton spent Saturday in Florida and have campaigned in the state dozens of times. Whatever the result, it is clear they brought out the vote.