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Early Voting Concludes In Miami-Dade Mayoral Race

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DORAL (CBSMiami)-There’s three days remaining to the Miami-Dade special Mayoral runoff, but Saturday was the last day for early voting, and many voters turned out to cast their ballots.

“This is a very important day,” said Maria Santos, who lives in Miami Dade County. “It’s the last day and we had to be here.”

On Friday, more than 100,000 people have already made their decision about who will be Miami’s next mayor. That’s how many have taken part in early voting or returned an absentee ballot.

Candidates Julio Robaina and Carlos Gimenez sparing not time in this final push.

“Our message of reform, fiscal responsibility and taking this county in a new direction is being heard loud and clear,” said Candidate Julio Robaina. “We feel the power of the people who want to take this county in a new direction.”

Both Miami-Dade mayoral candidates were out campaign on this final day of early voting asking residents for their vote.

“I feel really good that we’ve got a good base of support throughout the different communities of Miami-Dade County,” said Carlos Gimenez who is one of the candidates vying Miami-Dade County Mayor.”

Early Voting started June 18th and ended Saturday at 7 p.m. As of Thursday evening, more than 27,000 people had cast a ballot at one of 20 early voting locations. Some locations are reporting fewer than 100 voters a day, with just under half of the locations reporting under 1,000 voters each over six days of early voting.

Supporters for both campaigns spent the day rallying for their candidate and say they’re confident going into election day this Tuesday.

“I voted for Mr. Gimenez,” said Steven Wetzel of Doral who says he always casts his ballot during early voting.

Although CBS 4 News also spoke with residents who voted for Julio Robaina.

In the May special election that set up the runoff now underway, almost 10,000 more people cast ballots in an early voting period that lasted two weeks. In the recall election that ousted former mayor Carlos Alvarez from office, more than 60,000 people cast early votes over two weeks.

Voters in this election have less time because the legislature cut the early voting period, and banned counties from allowing early voting the Sunday before an election.

Tens of thousands of voters also cast early votes with absentee ballots, and according to figures provided by the Miami-Dade Elections department, 75,000 absentee ballots have already been returned. In the May special election, about 12 fewer thousand ballots had been returned by this point, and about the same had been returned for the recall election.

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That means, at least among absentee voters, there appears to be more interest in the runoff election.

Voter will now have until the close of polls Tuesday to return an absentee ballot. Absentee ballots may still be requested from the Miami-Dade Elections Department.

Voters who don’t use early voting or an absentee ballot must vote at their own neighborhood polling place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.next Tuesday. Voters at some Miami Beach precincts will find a note when they arrive at their usually polling place, directing them to a new location, as some precincts have been moved because childrens’ summer programs are underway there.

You can get complete information about the changes, find out about the candidates, get sample ballots and more by visiting the CBSMiami special elections page, which will also have the fastest results on election day.

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