Long Ballot Ties Up Florida Voters At The Polls

Lynn Neary talks with Greg Allen, who was covering Election Day in Florida.

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LYNN NEARY, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Lynn Neary. We're going to check in now with a couple of our reporters at polling stations around the country. We'll hear in a moment from Colorado. First, to Florida. NPR's Greg Allen joins us from College Park Baptist Church in Orlando. Hi, Greg.

GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: Hi, Lynn.

NEARY: What are you hearing from voters there today, Greg?

ALLEN: Well, I think a lot of people are glad to be out here today. I've heard very strong opinions on both sides. People are out here, both Democrats and Republicans - and we have, really about one-third of the voters are independents here. So the lines aren't as long as we saw in the early voting period, but I think people are very happy to be out and finally get this election over with.

NEARY: Yeah. I mean, we saw a lot about people waiting for hours and hours in those early voting lines. What was that all about?

ALLEN: Well, you know, the ballot is so long, it's like 10 pages, 12 pages in some cases, and there's very - there was relatively few early voting sites. And people, they want to make sure they got their vote out there and counted. I heard a lot of people say that. So those lines were, like you say, some of them were five, six, seven hours long. Today, I've heard people who had to wait two hours, but that's about it.

And out here at College Park, the line was down to about 10 minutes at one point. Now it's starting to build up again as, you know, as people get off work.

NEARY: Any idea yet how many people voted through absentee and early voting?

ALLEN: Well, estimates suggest that as many as half of the people in Florida who were going to, you know, vote totally voted either through absentee or early voting, over 50 percent. That's about what happened in 2008 and so, parsing those numbers, it looks like Democrats have a lead going into today's voting, but it's not as great of a lead as they had four years ago.

So if we have a good Republican turnout today, that could really help carry the state for Mitt Romney. If Democrats get their people out, then that could carry it for Barack Obama.

NEARY: And you also have a Senate race there and some congressional races that are getting a lot of attention?

ALLEN: Yes, we do. We have one statewide race, Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat, facing Congressman Connie Mack. And then we have these congressional races, a Tea Party Republican, Alan West, who's in a new district, he's facing a challenger. We have another hot race in Fort Lauderdale area between two former - two women politicians but it's an open seat, so that one is important as well.

Democrats are hoping they might pick up a seat or two here in the Florida delegation this election.

NEARY: NPR's Greg Allen. He's speaking with us from a polling place in Orlando, Florida. Thanks so much, Greg.

ALLEN: You're welcome.

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