Election so far, so good, state says
Polls across the state opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday for a statewide primary that's rare on three counts. It's the first Florida election with all optical-scan voting (except for visually impaired voters); there's not one statewide contest on the ballot; and voting takes place as parts of the state are still wringing themselves out from Tropical Storm Fay's drenching, forcing some voters to dodge flooded streets or downed tree limbs to vote.
Secretary of State Kurt Browning said six precincts opened late, but all were running by 7:30 a.m. and no voters were turned away. Three are in Broward, two in Palm Beach and one in Osceola. In one Palm Beach precinct, Browning said, firefighters were called to break into a locked building so the polls could open, and one Charlotte County precinct opened on battery power due to an electricity outage. By 9:30 a.m., the state's voter assistance hotline had logged 18 calls, which Browning considers a low number for an election open to all 10.6-million voters.
"All in all it's been a great start to a great primary day in Florida," Browning said. He praised Supervisor of Election Shirley Knight in Gadsden County, an area hard hit by Fay, for staying open until 7 p.m. on Monday to cast absentee ballots if they thought they couldn't get to the polls Tuesday.