More vote early at Collier County Library than anywhere else in the state

Early voters flock to the Collier County Library headquarters to cast their ballots at the corner of Airport-Pulling Road and Orange Blossom Drive on Thursday, Oct. 21 2010. Collier County election officials report that in the first three days of early voting, the Collier County Library headquarters has seen the highest numbers of early voter turnout at a single location in all of Florida.

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Early voters flock to the Collier County Library headquarters to cast their ballots at the corner of Airport-Pulling Road and Orange Blossom Drive on Thursday, Oct. 21 2010. Collier County election officials report that in the first three days of early voting, the Collier County Library headquarters has seen the highest numbers of early voter turnout at a single location in all of Florida.

Collier County Public Library - Headquarters Branch

2385 Orange Blossom Drive, Naples, FL

— After three days of early voting for the November midterm elections, more voters have turned out at the Collier County Library headquarters in North Naples to cast their votes than any other polling station in Florida.

According to Timothy Durham, Chief Deputy Supervisor of Elections in Collier County, 2,632 votes, almost half of all county votes cast so far in Collier County, have been cast at the library headquarters at the corner of Orange Blossom Drive and Airport-Pulling Road. The next two most trafficked early voting destinations were located in Sumter County and Broward County, according to Durham’s data.

So far, the turnout hasn’t reached the same levels as in the 2008 general election, which had more than double the turnout in the first three days of early voting. But compared the first three days of the 2006 midterm election, numbers are higher — indicating that voters are energized to cast their ballots.

At 2 p.m. at the Collier County Library headquarters, roughly 50 people stood in line to vote as Tom Fisher and his wife Mary finished voting and walked out of the library.

Fisher said politicians in Washington have left voters feeling disenfranchised, adding that he voted early to make sure he had the opportunity to cast his ballot.

“I’d feel bad if I missed this because I didn’t have the time to stand in line,” Fisher said. “Everyone should vote. There are a lot of critical issues.”

Both he and his wife agreed that critical issues such as job losses and home foreclosures were top issues in this year’s midterm elections.

“Families are hurting,” Mary Fisher said.

As Joe and Joanne Beaudion exited the library into the early afternoon sun, they both agreed that more people seem motivated to vote this midterm election.

“I don’t like the way things are going right now,” Joe Beaudion said. “It’s time to make some changes.”

The couple said that they usually vote early to avoid the long waits, and said that the whole process took under 15 minutes.

As the numbers continue to roll in, Collier County election officials are also reporting a 3-to-1 turnout ratio of Republicans to Democrats.

Anne Brown, a day manager with the Collier County Republican Party said that while she is pleased with the reports, Collier County has more Republicans than Democrats, so the turnout should be higher. Brown said she hopes the trend will continue throughout the voting period over the next two weeks.

Ira Sharp, the former president of the Collier County Democratic Club, said he doesn’t think Democrats will carry Collier County but he does expect local Democrats to put a measurable dent in the Republican ticket on the state and national level. He points to the previous two elections, where he says Democrats have made sizeable gains on Republicans in voting numbers.

Sharp also said that Democrats tend to vote on Election Day.

“That’s when we get the big turnout,” Sharp said.

For a full list of early voting poling sites, visit www.naplesnews.com/news/election.

© 2010 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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