By Hank Tester

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Sunday marked the end of the early voting period in Florida’s hotly-contested primary election.

Folks hustled to get in before the 4 p.m. deadline, including Julio Posada, who got his vote in just in time.

“Actually, we didn’t know it was closing in 10 minutes,” he said. “But we managed to make it!”

He said this year’s election for local, state and federal leaders is a critical one.

“Very important issues. A lot at stake right now,” Posada said.

The last of early voting was busy in downtown Miami as voters sorted through party primaries and the county-wide vote for mayor. In recent years, absentee voting and early voting has been popular.

“I said listen, go now because later is more people, more congestion, more things. So we said, do it now,” said voter Ana Vega.

As of Friday, 1,204,000 Florida residents had voted early or by absentee ballot, about 9 percent of all registered voters in the state, many of whom have not voted in previous elections.

Voters turned out in droves in Broward, too.

The national voter turnout organization called “Souls to the Polls” marched from a local church to a nearby polling location, hoping to entice new voters to get involved.

“To get people out to vote,” said Christopher Jones. “For what’s going on in this community and all over, everywhere else, it’s important to vote. It’s my first time voting.”

So has Donald Trump’s rhetoric or Clinton’s political machine generated the turnout?

“Part of it is efforts by these campaigns, sophisticated campaign-targeting technologies, to go after the non-traditional or non-primary voter,” said political talk radio host Fernand Armandi. “The non-traditional voters, if they vote, it’s usually in November in the presidential elections. So I think it may be a ‘canary in the coal mine’ of what’s coming. Maybe massive, maybe record turn out and I think that this is the first sign of that in the primary.”

Comments (2)
  1. Hugh Yonn says:

    This November, 469 of the 535 congressional seats are up for election.
    Please, clean both houses.

  2. kitcha says:

    I find it hilarious that the lame stream media is feeding the American public a lie. They don’t show you the longs lines of citizens waiting to go vote, in make America Great hats and shirts, with Trump buttons on.

    Hillary cannot win on her own, so everyone else is stepping in trying to shove her over the finish line. Florida is Trump’s.