Early Voting Shrinks in Florida; GOP Leads Increased Absentee Balloting

Early Voting Shrinks in Florida; GOP Leads Increased Absentee Balloting

(Reuters) – Florida voters cast fewer early ballots in the 2012 presidential election than in 2008, but they submitted more absentee ballots than they did four years ago, according to statewide elections figures released on Monday.

Overall, 37 percent of Florida’s 11.9 million registered voters have already cast their ballots. Excluding 300 ballots cast in Orlando on Sunday when voting was extended due to a bomb scare that temporarily shut down polling the day before, registered Democrats had cast 159,612 more votes than registered Republicans through Sunday.

Opinion polls showed Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney running neck and neck in Florida, where a mere 537 votes decided the 2000 presidential election in George W. Bush’s favor.

The early voting period in Florida ended on Saturday, though voters were still submitting absentee ballots at election supervisors’ offices on Sunday and Monday.

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