Broward, Miami-Dade counties begin ballot canvassing before Election Day

LAUDERHILL, FLA. (WSVN) - With one day left until Election Day, officials in South Florida have begun to canvass absentee ballots, as they prepare for what could be a record turnout.

On Monday morning, officials estimated nearly one million voters took advantage of early voting in South Florida. About another 500,000 people were able to vote via absentee ballots, as well.

With early voting completed as of Sunday, voting officials in both Broward and Miami-Dade counties have begun to collect those ballots to confirm signatures match and that the right name is on the envelope.

Outside the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office in Lauderhill, voters hand-delivered their mail-in ballots to make sure their vote is counted. “I think everybody’s listening to what’s happening, what is being said,” said voter Elizabeth Haines, “so everybody wants to come and do their part. It’s great; I’m doing mine.”

Early voting saw record numbers in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties. “We just had a robust turnout. Over 50 percent of the voters voted early,” said said Tonya Edwards, a spokesperson for the Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office.

In Broward, numbers increased 47 percent since 2012, with 426,498 early voters and 188,489 voters by mail.

In Miami-Dade County, their numbers increased 61 percent since 2012, with 475,864 early voters and 287,224 voters by mail.

“Over 55 percent of our voters have voted in this election,” said Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Christina White.

“We had a really successful early voting cycle,” said Edwards. “We had 14 days, 12 hours every day of early voting. We had 21 sites in 2012, as well as 2008 we had 17 sites. Over 50 percent of voters voted early.”

It hasn’t been without a few hiccups in Broward County. Amendment 2, which would legalize medical marijuana, was left off a couple of mail-in ballots.

A judge ruled the problem was isolated and caught early.

Employees were also accused of filling in blank ballots, but an investigation proved no wrongdoing. Still, protesters cried fraud, Monday, in Fort Lauderdale.

Going into Tuesday with half of South Florida’s registered voters casting their ballots early, officials said they expect a smooth day at the polls. “With 55 percent of our voters already participating, we’re preparing for about a 25 percent Election Day turnout,” said White.

Polls open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

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