About 15,000 fewer Sarasota County residents voted early this election.
A total of 55,463 voters participated in early voting this election, compared to 70,670 during the 2008 presidential election.
The drop in early voting could be due in part to the Legislature’s decision last year to cut the early voting period from two weeks to eight days. Early voting ended Saturday.
While many local voters did not to vote early, there was an increase in absentee ballots. As a result, the number of voters who cast their ballots before Election Day was slightly higher this election—with a total of 127,643 residents either voting early or casting an absentee ballot in 2012, compared to 124,450 either voting early or casting an absentee ballot in 2008.
“This time we had a lot more absentee (ballots),” said Joyce Soltis, administrative assistant with the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections office. “It kind of swapped.”
The number of absentee ballots will also likely increase through the day, because ballots that arrive before the 7 p.m. deadline today will be tallied.
As for voting today at the polls, despite some long lines, things have gone smoothly, Soltis said.
“Overall it has gone well,” Soltis said of voting, as of 2 p.m. Tuesday.