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Early voting in Hillsborough higher than 2008, 2012

At 7 p.m. Sunday, the bustle of the polls came to a rest.

Today, workers from the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office and polling stations will prepare for the last round of ballots to come in on Tuesday, and for the long lines and rush of Election Day.

There are 849,843 registered voters in Hillsborough County. Numbers from the Supervisor of Elections office show that 419,203 total ballots have already been cast as of Sunday evening. Of those, 242,168 were early voting ballots and 176,505 were vote by mail.

The majority of the ballots cast — including early voting, vote by mail and provisional — were from registered Democrats in Hillsborough County (176,200). Republican votes were close behind, totaling 147,964. Voters not affiliated with the two major parties constituted 95,039 total votes.

Of the 16 precincts open for early voting, Bloomingdale Regional Public Library had the biggest turnout with 26,681 ballots cast.

Records from the Supervisor of Elections office show that in the 2008 general election, total voter turnout, including absentee ballots, provisional ballots, early voting ballots and ballots cast on Election Day was 73.56 percent. A total of 515,983 ballots were cast. In 2008, Hillsborough County had 701,464 registered voters.

Of those who voted in Hillsborough County that year, 146,558 voted during early voting. Of those, 81,333 were Democrats and 38,775 were Republicans.

In the 2012 general election, Hillsborough County had 747,605 registered voters. Voter turnout that year was 72.92 percent with 545,134 ballots cast.

Those who early voted in 2012 totaled 167,211, of which 78,947 were Democrats and 56,373 were Republicans.

Currently, voter turnout excluding projections for Election Day is approximately 49.33 percent. Currently, the number of ballots cast is just 96,780 behind the total after Election Day in 2008 and 125,931 behind the total from 2012.

During the last two presidential election years, over 200,000 ballots were cast on each Election Day, 244,414 in 2008 and 208,001 in 2012. Both years, the numbers for Democrats and Republicans turning out to the polls on Election Day has been almost equal, with Republican turnout just behind Democrat turnout for both general election years.

If nearly the same number of voters come to the polls on Tuesday, the total number of ballots cast would be more than either of the two previous general elections. That in mind, not all of the ballots cast are completely filled out. Some may have boxes like the presidential race or the senatorial race left blank.

On Election Day, voters must vote in their precinct. Students who live on campus can vote at the Marshall Student Center, according to Gerri Kramer, director of communications for the Supervisor of Elections office. The office encourages voters to know how they plan on voting before they go to the polls in order to reduce lines. 

Voters are required to show a photo ID with a signature on it when they go to vote. Methods of identification that have a photo, like a student ID, are acceptable, but an ID with a signature must be provided as well.

A map of the precincts around Hillsborough County can be found on the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections website.