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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Hillsborough: No problems in early voting




A voter makes her way to a polling place at Northlakes Recreation Center in Carrollwood. [Carrie Pratt | Times]

7:30 a.m. TAMPA -- A more steady stream of people have funnelled into the polling site at 3910 S Manhattan Ave. Most are headed to work. Others have children in tow. Some are simply headed to the library, ignoring the red arrows directing potential voters to the polling site.

So far, no problems have been reported, according to Kathy Harris, general counsel for Hillsborough County's supervisor of elections. No machine problems or tabulation troubles, she said.

"All the polls were open at 7 a.m.," she said. "We're up and rolling."

But not all ran smoothly, at least for one Tampa voter. Walter Sayers, 30, who works in the mortgage industry, said his experience was "incredibly problematic."

Tb_mike450 Originally from Fort Pierce, he now resides "here, there, and everywhere in between," a distinction he thinks ruined his chances at casting a vote in the Democratic primary election.

Sayers voted early on Amendment 1 and "made the poor assumption" that he could return today to vote in the primary. But election officials told him he never officially declared a party. He thought that could be done today.

"It's not 100 percent my fault," he said. "But now I don't get to vote."

6:58 a.m.: TAMPA -- The sun is barely peeking out and physical education teacher Georgine Guettler was warned by election officials at the Jan K. Platt Regional Library to wait at least two more minutes before casting her vote.

Guettler was the first in a very short line at the South Tampa polling site at 3910 S Manhattan Ave. So far, only a handful of people are voting before the morning commute.

A lifelong Floridian, Guettler said she's voting for Mitt Romeny because she believes he will lower taxes, take a right-to-life stance and be "somebody that's going to be looking out for our security and somebody that's honest."

Please return to throughout the day for updated election news.

-- Casey Cora, Times staff writer

Photo: A voter shows support for candidate Mike Huckabee outside a polling place at Northlakes Recreation Center in Carrollwood this morning. Click to enlarge. [Carrie Pratt | TIMES]

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:20pm]


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