“I’m afraid Tuesday is going to be worse,” Fillous said.
The numbers show there’s a chance that almost half of the vote in Florida will be cast by Election Day, thanks to early and absentee ballots. Nearly 4 million people had already voted through Friday — about 44 percent of 9 million likely voters. More than 2 million ballots had been cast in a week of early voting, with Saturday to go.
When people go to their precincts Tuesday, their ballots — while still 10 to 12 pages long — will be entirely pre-printed, since all voters in one precinct vote for the same races. That should save some time. At early voting sites, where any county voter could show up, some pages were pre-printed, but others were printed as voters checked in.
Democrats, Democratic-leaning groups and the Monroe County elections supervisor, a Republican, had asked the governor this week to extend early voting. But he declined Thursday night. On Saturday, Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat seeking reelection, repeated the request.
Scott signed a law last year put forth by the GOP-controlled state Legislature eliminated early voting the Sunday before Election Day, after Democrats turned out in massive numbers that day in 2008. The law also shortened early-voting days to eight from 14, keeping the number of maximum hours offered the same on the books. But four years ago, then-Gov. Charlie Crist extended early voting by another 24 hours.
Voters can still request an absentee ballot in person, and turn them in, at elections supervisors’ offices.
On Saturday, not all polling places were equally packed. The wait at the downtown Fort Lauderdale library was a mere 30 minutes early Saturday.
“They are really doing a good job,” said Lindsey MacGruer, 33, a Republican who said she had arrived ready to wait for hours.
But if voting was quick in Fort Lauderdale, it moved at a crawl in Miramar.
Glenda Mitchell, 34, said she arrived at 6:30 a.m. — half an hour before the polling site opened — and found herself behind 150 people. “How early did the other people show up to be at the front door?”
Mitchell, a billing clerk, waited in line more than five hours to vote for Obama.
“There was no guarantee that I could vote on Tuesday,” she said. “And I didn’t want to end up working late and missing out.”
Some voters came prepared — or quickly realized that they would need provisions.
At Miami City Hall, where voters soaked in stunning views of the sailboats on Biscayne Bay, Tish and Jason Gross arrived around 9 a.m. with a canvas bag carrying bottled water and their iPads. Soon after, he ran home to get lawn chairs. Both breakfast and lunch consisted of hot dogs purchased from a well-placed vendor at the start of the line.
“It feels like waiting in line at Disney,” Jason Gross said.
Nearby, 59-year-old Diane Fitzsimmons and her daughter, Allison, had brought books and tailgating chairs. Both said they have to work Tuesday.
“Governor Scott put the kibosh on early voting this year, so we’re doing what we have to do,” said Fitzsimmons, an independent who planned to vote for Obama. “We need more early voting days.”
As of Friday, Democrats led Republicans by about 187,000 in early, in-person voting. Republicans led Democrats by 84,000 in absentee ballots cast.