ST. PETERSBURG — It was less than a trickle, but more than nothing.
Polls in Pinellas, and elsewhere in Tampa Bay, opened Saturday to those who wished to vote early in this year's primary races. By midday, just more than 100 people had cast their votes across the county.
But those numbers are deceiving.
More than 62,000 people in Pinellas have mailed in their ballots, which means 10 percent of the county's electorate has already voted. That figure far exceeds the number of mailed ballots cast in the 2008 primaries.
Election officials aren't surprised at the increases. At home, people can avoid lines and take their time studying candidates and issues.
"It's a matter of convenience," said Julie Marcus, deputy supervisor of elections. "It just makes sense."
Though not as extreme, Hillsborough has seen the same trend. Through Friday, about 7,000 people had cast votes in person since the county kicked off early voting Monday, but more than 23,000 had mailed their choices.
Just 21,000 people mailed their votes during the primary four years ago.
Pasco, where about 850 people had voted in person by midafternoon Saturday, has already received more mailed ballots — nearly 11,000 — than it had through the entire 2008 primary.
Not everyone has jumped on the mailed-ballot bandwagon, though.
Christine Edmonds always votes in person to ensure that her vote will be counted.
"If it comes in the mail, you don't know where it goes," said Edmonds, standing just outside an early voting office on First Avenue N in St. Petersburg. "It could end up anywhere."
Edmonds voted Saturday because she can't make it on primary day Aug. 14.
She'll be working a long shift as a machine manager at one of Pinellas' polling locations.