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FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Millions of dollars have been spent on campaign ads leading up to Tuesday’s General Election.
Clear skies helped a record early voting in Broward and prevented polling congestion.
“When we had 20 thousand voters Sunday, I knew it was going to be a good election,” said Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda Snipes.
As campaigners pressed for every last vote, some voters heard the dreaded words of, “sir, you’re at the wrong precinct. Sorry.”
Many voters in Broward said the gubernatorial race between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist was what drew them to the polls. Some said when it came to a choice between Crist or Scott, they chose the lesser evil.
“I’m not overly happy about having to vote for either candidate because I don’t love either of them but I tended to be more with what Crist had. Hopeful he sticks to what he said,” said Leah Page.
“The country’s just going in the wrong direction. I’m a lifelong Democrat but I voted Republican,” said Sam Hollowel. “I can’t say that I like either one of them greatly but I had to chose one so I chose the one with more fiscal responsibility.”
Voters in Broward also had another major issue to decide – an $800 million bond to improve the county’s schools.
“I have two girls in school and it’s important to me they get the money they need,” said Meg Cairns.
Broward County Public Schools is the sixth largest school district in the country. School district officials said the money is crucial to improving aging facilities and upgrading technology. State budget cuts are being cited as a reason why the county needs the bond money. Miami-Dade voters approved a $1.2 billion school bond in 2012.
Another hot button issue before Broward voters, as well as voters across the state is Amendment 2 which asks if marijuana should be legalized for medical reasons. Opponents say the amendment is written too loosely and if passed will create so-called “pot mills” similar to the pill mills the state has cracked down on in the last couple of years.
Amendment 2 needs 60 percent of the vote to pass. If it doesn’t, but comes close, we may just see it on the ballot again in 2016.
Broward election officials said there were a couple of minor glitches when the polls opened at 7 a.m. Some voters in Pembroke Pines went to the wrong polling location because they said they were not notified by mail that their precinct polling station had changed.
At Croissant Park Elementary in Ft. Lauderdale, a machine which verified voter information went down. Poll workers had to do the verification process by phone until a new machine arrived which caused a minor delay.
In Plantation, a candidate running for the Plantation Acres Improvement District, noticed her race was on the sample ballot that the county put out but not on the ballot her precinct’s polling location.
“I feel like I’ve been booted out the door,” said Jennifer Nieset.
“Someone like myself had been denied the right to vote for a taxing district,” said voter Lars Gomoll.
A call was made to Snipes’ office and new ballots were printed and sent to the precinct.The problem was fixed by 10 a.m. Those who voted early were called back But the supervisor still can’t breathe easy
“Like that movie’Waiting To Exhale.” I’ll breathe at three or four in the morning,” said Snipes.
Broward had the biggest early voter turnout in the state, more than 129,000 registered voters cast ballots before election day.
Dr. Brenda Snipes, the county’s Supervisor of Elections, said she hopes that’s a sign that voters will turn out in strong numbers on Election Day.
“I think they’re sort of defying what people traditionally characterize as a midterm election so I’m real proud of the voters in Broward and like to brag so hopefully we’ll be able to brag some more by the end of the day,” said Snipes.
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