Polls in Miami-Dade and Broward closed as ballots are counted

DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - Polls in Miami-Dade and Broward counties are now closed in Florida and the count has begun.

On Tuesday alone, 184,984 votes were cast in Broward County, bringing the total number of those having cast votes to 813,782 so far. Roughly 70 percent of the 1.2 million registered voters in Broward County have voiced their choice Tuesday.

One woman could be seen running into one polling location a few minutes before the 7 p.m. cutoff time. The last few voters who were in line cast their ballots before the big deadline, a short time ago.

There were no reports of any equipment failures.

Broward County, however, set a new record with a 71 percent turnout. In 2012, the county had a 69 percent turnout.

Election Day was a smooth one in Broward County, with one exception. Two precinct clerks were fired at a Pompano Beach polling station after failing to adhere to procedures. However, one voter said his experience was not affected.

“I think it was very well run,” said Doug Spalluto, who voted in Deerfield Beach. “The people were nice.”

One voter cast his first vote at his old elementary school in Fort Lauderdale. “My mom, she wanted me to vote. Everybody kept saying, ‘You should get out and vote.’ So I said, ‘Yeah, OK, I guess I’ll go out and vote,'” said first time voter, Edwin McGriff, “and I feel good that I voted now.”

“People understand the importance of their vote, and they’re exercising their right to vote,” said Tonya Edwards, a spokesperson for the Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office. “And so we’re very pleased that many of our Broward County voters, voted early and voted by mail. It is a record breaking turn out. I’ve never seen a turnout this high before, so that’s what we call a healthy democracy.”

Workers said that polls has a good amount of traffic, but if there ever was a line, it moved in a timely fashion. “Our forefathers had to struggle to get this far,” said one voter in Lauderdale Lakes. “It’s important for the generation coming up.”

One polling station in Miami-Dade County has been slow. However, that was not the case across the board with 591 locations within. “Four years ago, I stood in line over two hours,” said voter Phillipe Lavarde. “But today was really good. It must be the early voting.”

As of 6 p.m., Tuesday, as many as 200,000 Miami-Dade residents cast their votes, bringing the total votes in the county, so far, up to 979,285. That’s over 70 percent of registered voters who have already voted within the county.

The Miami-Dade County of Elections Canvassing Board reviewed all the mail-in ballots earlier this week and said this election has already shattered records. “We’ve had a record setting election so far,” said Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Christina White, “not just in daily turnout yesterday, but also in total turnout for early voting and absentee. We have over 55 percent of our voters, who have already voted in this election.”

Poll workers in Broward said they are prepared for the largest voter turnout in 14 years. “I’m hoping that we’re also gonna have a record breaker for Election Day,” said Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes. “The workers are there, they’re ready, and they have been trained to know what to do to serve the voters, and we just want the voters to turn out. I’d love to see a minimum of 300,000 voters go out today.”

Some didn’t seem to mind a one-hour wait time at some locations. “There are some lines because our voters are enthusiastic, but the lines are moving, and people are not waiting too long today,” White said.

This election year, voters had more days made available to them, including the Sunday before Election Day, to vote. More than 53,000 people showed up to the polls on Sunday, breaking the previous early voting record in Miami-Dade by more than 13,000 people.

7News spoke with a voter in Northwest Miami-Dade, who said she didn’t partake in early voting because it’s her tradition to come out on Election Day. “I just wanted to get out here and vote on the day,” said Eugenia Russel. “This is one of the few elections that I do actually vote on the day. Being African-American, being a woman, it is extremely important to vote and get out there and do our civic duty.”

Polls opened at 7 a.m., and as long as you are in line by 7 p.m. you will be able to cast your ballot.

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