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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

State elections officials predict primary turnout will be 'historic'

15

March

Secretary of State Ken Detzner, Florida's chief elections official, predicts a heavy turnout in Tuesday's presidential primary and said: "I think it will be historic."

Detzner reported no problems at the polls other than an early-morning glitch in Jacksonville's Duval County, where electronic poll books were not working and poll workers had to use the paper registers that were the norm for generations and which remain "the standard backup method," he said. "No voters were impacted."

When polls opened in 5,810 polling places across the state at 7 a.m., more than 2.1 million people had already voted. Detzner said 3,000 people voted within the first 10 minutes of in-person Election Day voting in Hillsborough County. 

"My indications are that we're going to have a record turnout today," Detzner said.

Detzner predicted the vote total would easily surpass the 42 percent turnout in the primary in 2008 that featured races in both parties and a statewide ballot question dealing with property taxes. Gov. Rick Scott and his wife, First Lady Ann Scott, were among the many Republican voters who cast their ballots by mail for the primary (the Scotts are registered to vote in Collier County).

Detzner scheduled three phone briefings with Scott Tuesday to update the governor on voting. Detzner urged voters with questions or concerns to call the state's elections assistance hotline at 1-866-308-6739.

Polls in most of the state will close at 7 p.m. EDT. But as usual, the state will not post any returns on its Florida Watch site until 8 p.m. EDT because the western Panhandle is in the central time zone and polls there will be open an hour later. The first wave of returns will be high -- and they could be decisive -- because they will include the combined totals for absentee and early voting. The state says it will update the online totals every 45 minutes with reports from all 67 counties.

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 12:38pm]

    

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