It’s Election Day, Nov. 8, and voters in Miami-Dade, Broward and across Florida and the U.S. are selecting candidates and deciding local issues. Here is an updating live blog on what’s happening.
Polls are closed
7 p.m.: The polls are closed, and by all accounts South Florida is expected to report record turnouts in Miami-Dade (around 1 million votes cast) and Broward counties (around 850,000). Read more here.
Union says voters given bad information, turned away at Dade polls
6 p.m.: Voters have been turned away Tuesday in Miami-Dade County after receiving bad information from poll workers about the consequences of changing their address, according to the AFL-CIO.
Damon Silvers, special counsel to the workers union, said he and the non-partisan Election Protection poll-watching group have been told by poll workers in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties that voters have been turned away or told to fill out provisional ballots because they have not updated their addresses with their supervisor of elections.
Florida law, however, allows voters in such a situation to cast a regular ballot once they fill out a change-of-address form at the polls.
“This was not understood by a lot of polling workers in South Florida,” Silvers said, adding that the problem has been primarily in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. “People have been turned away by significant numbers when they in fact have the right to vote.”
Silvers said the AFL-CIO and Election Protection believe the number of voters who have experienced this problem may be in the hundreds based on an “educated guess,” and not a number based on concrete documentation. He said Christina White, Miami-Dade’s supervisor of elections, has been contacted about the problem and has taken steps to make sure all its poll workers are aware of the correct policy.
Deputy Miami-Dade elections supervisor Carolina White said the elections department has heard of the complaint, but only from observers. She said no voters have called or emailed to complain.
“While this issue has been raised by observers, we have not been contacted directly by voters regarding this matter,” she said in an email. “We encourage any voter who has yet to vote to do so by 7:00 pm. Any voter that has any questions or concerns are encouraged to contact our office directly.”
Voters can reach the elections office at 305-499-8683, or by email at email@example.com.
Update: Miami-Dade Elections chief Christina White said the agency sent out a message to all polling places today on the procedures for dealing with a voter’s address change. She said that voting-rights groups complaints about voters being turned away over wrong addresses, but that the department couldn't confirm any problems actually occurred.
“We contacted precinct clerks directly to reiterate procedures, which is our stand policy when we receive these type of requests,” White said.
— David Smiley
Miami-Dade Mayor votes in Coconut Grove, is “expecting to win”
County Mayor Carlos Gimenez arrived at the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department in Coconut Grove to cast his vote Tuesday afternoon. By his side were his wife and two granddaughters, wearing big red bows.
Alexis, 7, and Ava, 4, rooted for their grandpa; their navy polo shirts sported the Gimenez campaign logo.
The confident mayor told the press he’s “expecting to win.”
“In a few hours we’ll hear what the voters had to say,” Gimenez said. “This election was long and frankly we’re ready to move on.”
The incumbent mayor, who is in a run-off with Raquel Regalado, a school-board member and the daughter of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, took 48 percent of the vote in the August primary. Regalado took 32 percent.
Gimenez’s race has been the priciest race in Miami-Dade history, raising more than $7 million to the roughly $1.6 million raised by Regalado.
“This is the fourth largest county government in the United States; it’s a very important position,” he said. “Yes, it was expensive, but it’s something that we had to do... raise the money to get the message out to make sure that at the end the voters see that Carlos Gimenez is the best choice for Miami-Dade.”
Gimenez asked last minute voters to vote for him because he has “the proven experience and leadership skills.” He described the race as being “too long and frustrating.”
“This campaign was too long, about a year long. There were a lot of lies in this campaign. I had an opponent who tried to rob tonight’s results in the courts,” he said, referring to an unsuccessful, 11th-hour lawsuit filed by Regalado to try and toss Gimenez from the ballot. “To me, that was frustrating but I had to push through and focus on what we have achieved in the past five years.”
— Monique O. Madan
In Miami, this first-time voter is for — and against — Trump
4:45 p.m.: Fabian Munizaga wants to be able to tell his kids one day that he voted in the 2016 Presidential Election on Election Day, not some random early voting day. After all, it wasn’t just Munizaga’s first time voting. He was the first in his family to vote in an election, period.
As Jehovah’s Witnesses, his family abstained from voting, he said.
Munizaga told his mother, who gave him a “You can do what you want.” He didn’t tell his father, but he thinks Dad knows.
“I always knew I was going to vote. I’ve always had an interest in school, not to be a politician, but to be involved,” Munizaga said after voting at Romont South Recreation Hall in North Miami Beach. “I know a lot of people don’t have the opportunity to be able to vote ... I’m an American citizen and I live here. So, why not? Also, I want to feel like I did something. If I did vote, I’d feel more a part of this country.”
Not trusting the campaign commercials or the media, he said, “I did my own research last night. Research means I went to each candidate’s website. I went to all the late night talk show hosts (videos). They’re all biased. Every single one of them is against Trump. And now they’re really desperate and each one is doing their own parody. I went to Wikipedia, too.”
Despite wearing an anti-Trump T-shirt, Munizaga said he voted for Trump.
“I don’t really like him much. He’s not really a politician. On the way here, I had a really good conversation with my Uber driver. I was 60-40 for Trump. And then I talked to him and we agreed that even though he’s a bad politician, he is a businessman. He would be a bad politician, but Hillary would be even worse because she’s already a politician.”
Munizaga also defied some of his friends, one of which declared he wouldn’t come to Munizaga’s 19th birthday party if he voted for Trump.
That surprised him. What also surprised him: all the other things on the ballot beyond the Presidency.
“I wasn’t really sure who was who -- so I kind of eeny-meeny-miney-moe,” he said.
— David J. Neal
After record early voting turnout, Miami-Dade seeing slower election day
4 p.m.: Voters in Miami-Dade County repeatedly broke early voting records as 6.5 Floridians cast ballots ahead of Tuesday’s main event. So far, that seems to mean lower numbers on the actual election day when compared to the 2012 presidential election.
According to the Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections, voters were hitting the polls at a pace about half of what they’d seen on election day 2012. Barring a major rush-hour uptick, that likely means lower election day turnout.
— David Smiley
Broward precinct clerks fired after argument on where to stand
3:30 p.m.: Two Broward precinct workers were fired and asked to leave their precinct Tuesday for not adhering to policy.
Tonya Edwards, spokeswoman for the Broward supervisor of elections, confirmed that two precinct clerks were fired around 12 :30 p.m. from the Herb Skolnick Center in Pompano Beach. The clerks have been replaced.
“They wouldn’t adhere to our policies and procedures so they had to be let go,” she said.
To read more, click here.
— Amy Sherman
Gables voter: ‘Most conflicted election I’ve ever seen’
2:45 p.m.: At the Coral Gables Country Club, children played on the small green lawn in front while people relaxed over a late lunch inside. A poll worker said 332 people had voted by about 2 p.m. on Tuesday — busy for that site.
Retiree Ken Swindal, 60, who called himself an independent, said he voted for Republican Donald Trump for president, but struggled with his decision.
“This has been the most conflicted election I've ever seen,” said Swindal, who voted for Obama in 2008 but couldn’t remember his choice in 2012. “I didn't make up my mind until I sat there and looked at the ballot.”
“Virtually everyone I've talked to is very confused and doesn't know who to vote for either,” he said. “The majority of people I've talked to [don’t] think either candidate has their best interest in mind.”
Swindal wrote in a neighbor's name in the U.S. Senate race, calling both Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Patrick Murphy “idiots.”
— Jordan Levin
Ex-red state man ‘excited to vote’ in Florida
2:50 p.m.: Roman Carrasco, a 28-year-old from Oklahoma, is used to voting in strong red states.
But after moving to Florida to pursue his doctorate in clinical psychology at Nova Southeastern, Carrasco said he feels like his vote matters even more.
“I was excited to vote in a swing state,” he quipped Tuesday. “My vote actually means something.”
The graduate student said he voted for Hillary Clinton and Patrick Murphy.
“I was excited to vote for Pat Murphy, mostly because I was excited to vote against Marco Rubio,” he said.
The registered Democrat voted at New Renaissance Middle School in the afternoon. He said it was a quick and easy process — though there was a little confusion over his Oklahoma driver's license.
— Cresonia Hsieh
Sobering lessons in American democracy
2:30 p.m.: Zhaney A. Hewitt and Antonio Arcia, both 21, were first-time voters on Tuesday and they took the responsibility very seriously.
“We actually stopped and listened to what people had to say as we went in, instead of just ignoring them and walking by,” Hewitt, a Miami Gardens resident, said as she accompanied Arcia to vote at David Park Community Center in Hollywood. She was heading to her precinct afterward.
“It was a good experience, listening to the people talk about the different candidates, even though some of it just feels like advertising,” Arcia said. “It was a good feeling to have a voice. I wish I had voted earlier, in other local elections, but I don't think I was educated enough at that time.”
Hewitt added: “Even if these people don't end up doing what they say they're going to do, we can reform and change at that time, which is why voting is so important.”
Arcia voted for Hillary Clinton and Hewitt planned to do the same.
“Politics is about more than business, which is trade and regulating commerce, and I don't think Donald Trump is qualified,” Arcia said. “I don't believe he would do anything for people under him that are not in the upper classes.”
— Michelle Kaufman
Mother lode of Democratic votes in Broward
2 p.m.: At midday, the Broward Supervisor of Elections website showed that about 108,000 people voted on Tuesday, while about 622,000 had cast ballots in early voting and by mail. The county has about 1.2 million eligible voters.
That means so far the state’s bluest county has attained a 62 percent turnout rate. Democrats are hoping that Broward’s turnout exceeds the statewide rate by about two percent to give Hillary Clinton a boost over Republican Donald Trump.
So if Florida’s overall turnout reaches 70 percent, Democrats are aiming for a turnout in Broward of about 72 percent. That would be just one point shy of Broward’s turnout in 2008, but five points higher than the 67 percent rate in 2012.
The key for Clinton is to drive up Democratic turnout in South Florida counties to wipe out Republican votes for Trump in less populous and more conservative counties in northern Florida.
— Amy Sherman
Confusion over polls in the Tamiami area
1:45 p.m.: Confused about where to cast a ballot in the Tamiami area?.
Lilliana Madrigal, a Florida International University student, said it's been a challenge to vote on Election Day.
“Apparently there’s three [polling places] in the same area,” Madrigal said.
A poll worker directed her to the FIU Stadium Club, which she found strange. “I’ve never voted here,” she said.
Upon arrival, however, she found it wasn’t her precinct after all.
Madrigal was then directed to the Miami Dade Fair & Expo. Appearing agitated, she left for the Expo, hoping she would finally be able to vote.
FIU students and first-time voters Meaghan Rivera and Marco Fernandez faced similar struggles. Rivera lives in one of the university’s dorms while Fernandez lives nearby but off-campus. When they tried to vote at the FIU Stadium Club, they were told that their precinct was the Miami Dade Fair & Expo.
Rivera and Fernandez, however, didn't seem bothered, noting the fair was a relatively short walk.
The two declined to say who they planned to vote for, but said they were well-informed on the issues. Still, making a choice is difficult.
“It’s too much pressure,” Rivera said.
— Michelle Marchante, South Florida News Service
Regalado ‘up against $8 million’
Noon.: Before Miami-Dade mayoral challenger Raquel Regalado voted Tuesday, she took some time to discuss incumbent Carlos Gimenez's formidable reelection effort and the bitter race to run Florida's largest county.
The school board member held a brief news conference outside the Coral Gate Community Center in Miami, and described an uphill climb.
“We went up against $8 million, and an incumbent that has the power of incumbency,” Regalado said. “We've done so much. I'm really proud of my team. We have the hardest working team.”
Regalado, the daughter of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, is challenging Gimenez in a November runoff for county mayor. The 42-year-old finished second in the Aug. 30 primary, taking 32 percent. Gimenez, 62 and in office since 2011, narrowly missed winning the primary outright, but ended up with 48 percent of the vote. That led to the runoff on Election Day.
It's been the most expensive county race in Miami-Dade history, with Gimenez raising more than $7 million to the roughly $1.6 million raised by Regalado.
— Douglas Hanks
Wasserman Schultz visits familiar place
11:50 a.m.: South Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz made a campaign appearance Tuesday at a place she frequented as a little girl: the Hollybrook Condominium Apartments in Pembroke Pines.
Wasserman Schultz said her grandmother used to live at Hollybrook, so she's very familiar with it.
“This is a special community,” the Weston Democrat said.
Now grown up, the congresswoman visited the community polling site to meet with voters and answer any questions from residents on Election Day. Her Republican opponent is Joe Kaufman, of Fort Lauderdale.
“It's really a chance to interact with the people I have the privilege of representing,” she said.
Meanwhile, Pembroke Pines resident Scott Samuels, a 65-year-old registered independent, said he voted for Republicans Donald Trump for president and Marco Rubio for senator.
Samuels said he didn't approve of Trump's behavior during the campaign, but that he agreed with more of Trump's policies than those of her Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
“I thought he could've won this campaign easier if he would've been a smart guy instead of a ‘wise guy,’ ’’ he said.
To him, Clinton didn't deserve his vote because he thought America was perceived as a weaker force internationally after her tenure as secretary of state. He cited Russia's expansion into Crimea, Ukraine and Syria as examples.
“Because the world perceives us as weaker, people take more liberties,” he said.
But at Hollybrook, one campaign volunteer for Trump wasn’t optimistic about his chances on Election Day.
“I know who's going to win, unfortunately,” Sheryl Fordin said, referring to Clinton's slight edge in the polls.
Fordin and Wasserman Schultz had a congenial exchange about how it's fine to have different perspectives.
“We can agree to disagree,” Fordin said. “That what makes this country what it is.”
The congresswoman agreed and gave her a hug.
— Cresonia Hsieh
Miami Beach indie with Hillary
11:40 a.m.: Juliana Bukowitz, a 44-year-old independent and Brazilian immigrant, said she's been waiting for years to cast a vote for Hillary Clinton's presidency on Election Day. She did that at the waterfront Miami Beach fire station on Indian Creek Drive.
In her 23 years of living in the U.S., she's admired Clinton and believes her experience will serve her well if she wins.
“I am a single mother. I am an immigrant. I have a candidate that represents me,” she said.
But in Florida's U.S. Senate race, Bukowitz said she wasn't impressed with either Republican Marco Rubio or Democrat Patrick Murphy.
Her protest vote went to a true outsider: Rick Grimes, the zombie-fighting protagonist in the comic book and television series “The Walking Dead.”
“He's a great character,” she said. “He's got a sense of morality.”
— Joey Flechas
Murphy stumps in North Dade for good luck
11:15 a.m.: The hip-hop and modern soul music from WEDR 99 Jamz booth that dominated the North Dade Regional Library parking lot suddenly got stepped on by “Mur-phy! Mur-phy! Mur-phy!”
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy shook hands, posed for selfies and talked with supporters before hitting the radio booth.
“We were here for primary day,” Murphy said Tuesday morning. “So, I think it's good luck to be in this location. We won that very convincingly. So we're here making sure people show up to vote, getting those last few voters, making sure if they have any questions, we're here to answer them.”
Asked what he wanted to see on Election Day to indicate he'd defeat incumbent Republican Marco Rubio, Murphy said, “Long lines. People show up to vote, we win.”
“It's going to be a close race,” he said. “It's Florida. We expect close races.”
— David J. Neal
Trump supporter in Miami Gardens?
10:45 a.m.: Miami Gardens' Jose Caboverde wanted some Donald Trump love shown in his city on Election Day. Most Miami Gardens polling places contained little, if any, sign — or supporter or bumper sticker or button — that anyone other than Hillary Clinton was running for president.
So Caboverde donned the camouflage jacket and hat from his Marine son, covered his truck in pro-Trump/Pence banners, planted signs under two shade trees in the North Dade Regional Library parking lot and stood proudly.
“A vote for Trump is a vote for the nation!” said Caboverde, a boat captain. “He's for the workers.”
Caboverde said he emigrated from Cuba 48 years ago. One son, he said, is a Marine officer, another an Army officer, each with over 20 years in the service.
He wasn't sure how long he'd stay, maybe until the early afternoon. Despite Caboverde's political leaning, nothing about the surrounding vibe encouraged him to leave.
There were no lines because, like most Miami Gardens polling places, early voting over the past two weeks chopped down any waiting time. A few folks hung out with a cooler and chairs, enjoying the weather. WEDR 99 Jamz booth played the music to vote or chill by.
— David J. Neal
Libertarian Johnson nabs vote in Hollywood
10:30 a.m.: Yossi Kudan, toting his toddler daughter, emerged from the voting booth at Hollywood Community Center and said he did not vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.
He voted for the Libertarian, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.
“The choices were so bad in this election,” Kudan said. “But I think it's important to exercise your right to vote even if you don't like the options.
“I voted for Gary Johnson because I'm not going to vote for someone I don't agree with or for someone who's a crook and a bad person, so I'm voting for someone who's at least a good person and many of his views reflect mine.”
For U.S. senator, Kudan voted for Republican Marco Rubio.
“He's a good senator, has good ideas and his policies are good,” Kudan said. “[Democrat] Patrick Murphy has no accomplishments, [and] has lied to advance his political career, so why vote for someone like that when there's someone who has actually done good for the state and the country?"
— Michelle Kaufman
Wearing white to make history
10 a.m.: Lauren Schuster strapped her five-month-old son Jake around her shoulder to vote for Hillary Clinton on Tuesday morning. Jake was hungry, and nursed during the process. His mother saw the potential for history.
“I wore white,” the 32-year-old art teacher said outside the Coral Gate Community Center around 9:30 am. “Because it's the suffragettes' color. It's the symbol of women's right to vote.”
Schuster, on maternity leave from Kensington Park Elementary, declared herself enthusiastically behind President Obama. So a vote for the Democratic nominee was the natural choice.
But she also described a milestone in the politically possible if Clinton beats Donald Trump.
“If she wins,” Schuster said, it will be the norm to see a woman in a leadership position.”
— Douglas Hanks
Trump popular in GOP Coral Ridge
9:30 a.m.: In liberal Broward County, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than two-to-one, the Coral Ridge neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale is a pocket of conservative voters.
Florin Bucutea, a 57-year-old Republican and financial adviser, cast his ballot for Trump shortly at the Coral Ridge mall precinct.
“He is honest. He will change this country,” said Bucutea, who emigrated from Romania 37 years ago. Trump will “secure the borders” and “encourage the economy.”
He voted for Sen. Marco Rubio for U.S. Senate.
“He has certain qualities that will be consistent with Republican values, such as the abortion issue, strong economic values [and] strong security values,” he said.
Gary Raffensberger, a former independent turned Republican who works in finance, said he believes Trump is the better choice to grow jobs and secure the country.
“Hillary scares me — I don’t trust her and I’m all for having a woman president,” he said, raising concerns about how she handled the Benghazi terrorist attack, her emails as secretary of state and the Clinton Foundation.
There have been so many news reports about those issues related to Clinton that “some of them have got to be true or it would stop,” he said. “I want to trust her but I don't.”
Mandy Macke, a Republican who works as a nanny and waitress, was frustrated by her choices but cast a ballot for Trump because she wants change.
“I don’t like either of them,” said Macke. But she still viewed Trump as a “good businessman,” though she considered him a “bigot.”
Cathy Roberts, a stay at home mom and registered Republican, cast her ballot for Clinton.
“She is not a bigoted misogynist bully,” she said, giving her opinion of Trump. “I like and respect Hillary Clinton.”
— Amy Sherman
New and old immigrants vote in Little Havana
9:15 a.m.:At Robert King High Towers, a public housing complex in the heart of Little Havana, many of the stream of voters going to two polling places on Tuesday were Spanish speakers and immigrants. However, even in this historically Cuban exile neighborhood, five out of six voters interviewed said they were voting for Clinton.
Brothers Erick Rodriguez, 18, and Kevin Nunez, 23, said they were voting for Clinton in part for their parents, Honduran immigrants with temporary protected status.
“They're scared to see who wins,” said Rodriguez. “If Trump wins they'll probably get deported. Trump is against immigrants.”
The Miami Dade College student was excited to be voting for the first time.
“I feel – what's the word - blessed, lucky. Fortunate.”
His brother Nunez, who voted for Obama four years ago, and had just voted for Clinton, said he was afraid of what Trump might do as president.
“The guy is like a ticking time bomb; he has no filter,’ said Nunez, who works at a drill manufacturer in Doral and is studying information technology at Florida International University. “He's like a blind snow machine – he throws everything out of his way. It's all about power for him.”
Feelings about immigrants also spurrred Nunez to vote for Patrick Murphy over Marco Rubio for the U.S. Senate.
“I didn't choose Rubio because I think he's a sellout,” Nunez said. “He's against immigrants, which is kind of weird.”
Doris Lava, 55, came to Miami from Nicaragua in 1987, but became a citizen for four years ago. Lava, a cleaning lady who brought her grandchildren David, 14, and Daymara, 8, was also voting for the first time — for Clinton.
“I'm so emotional to see if there can be a change to something different, to say that a woman will be president of the United States for the first time,” said Lava in Spanish. “She is supporting immigrants, she'll keep Obamacare, she won't put up a wall."
“I don't like Trump,” she said. “He wants to take away the citizenship of children who were born here. They're innocent.”
Armando Cagigas, a retiree who came from Cuba 40 years ago, smiled as he said that being a Cuban Democrat was “a little strange.”
“I voted for Clinton because she helps poor people more,” Cagigas said in Spanish. “Trump is for the rich. I don't have money.”
Zoila Torres, 42, who came from Cuba 15 years ago, but only became a citizen three years ago, was also thrilled to be voting for the first time – for Trump.
“I'm so excited, I feel happy, free,” Torres said in Spanish. “I voted for Trump because I'm a Republican. He knows how to make money. Let him teach us how.”
— Jordan Levin
Argentine-American sounds off on election
8:45 a.m.: Patricia Mele, an Argentine-American, was eager to get to the Hollywood Beach Community Center Tuesday morning to cast her ballot for Hillary Clinton. She has many Republican friends, and has been debating the issues with them over the past several months. As “a woman and an immigrant,” she said, this election was personal.
“For me, this election was very important because Donald Trump just said yesterday, `I am not a politician,’ so if you are not a politician, what are you doing running for the President of the United States,” said Mele, 53, of Hollywood. “I don’t think he respects humanity or values, even if his kids are good, like everyone says. I don’t think he can deal with all the big issues, and he cannot insult Latinos and immigrants the way he does. I am Latina. I am an immigrant. I have lived here 32 years. My three kids were born here. I work, and have never lived off welfare. I became a citizen in 1995, and was so happy to have the right to vote in my community. I lived in New York at that time, and I voted for Hillary as senator.
“I agree with Hillary that women have the right to decide if we want to do an abortion or not. I like her history, too, that she has always worked for kids. I worked at an insurance company for poor people in New York, and I saw that Hillary tried to help those people. She helped disabled kids while Trump made fun of a disabled person. For me, Hillary is the only choice.”
— Michelle Kaufman
Jitters for first-time voter
8:30 a.m.: Alycia Negrin just turned 18 and just turned into a voter, receiving her voting card in the mail on Monday.
And it scared her.
“I didn't want to vote today,” Negrin said. “I just didn't know what to do.”
Before the media noise of this election season could intimidate her into not voting, her father sat Negrin down at the kitchen table to explain its importance and the sacrifices made so she could have that right.
So, she started Tuesday morning with her father, near the head of the line as the polls opened at Scott Lake Elementary School.
The U.S. Senate race between Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy provided the most certainty for Negrin.
“I didn't vote [for Marco] Rubio because everybody should have equal rights and him not being for the LGBT community is not right,” she said. “I stand for that. I don't see it as equality for us as a society.”
— David J. Neal
Black voters in Overtown go for Clinton
8:20 a.m. Twenty-five people were in line as the polls opened in Overtown, Miami's historic black neighborhood, with a steady trickle of people following them. Many were elderly, and some of the women carried small children or held kids by the hand, many hurrying to vote before going off to work.
Several women said they were happy to vote for a woman candidate for president for the first time.
Overtown Democrat Bridgett D. Lawson, 45, said she was thrilled to have voted for Hillary Clinton. “I wish I could give the Emoji sign,” she said, smiling and giving a thumbs up. “It just feels good, empowering, to think we might have our first female president. We already made history when we had a black president. Now we might make history again.”
“It's good women can come up and do whatever men do,” said Lottie Lee, 73, who said she voted a straight Democratic ticket.
Several men echoed those feelings. “I never thought I'd live to see a black president,” said Ricardo Jones, 43, a lifelong Overtown resident. “I'd like to see a woman president.”
Nitron Stork, 30, a Booker T. Washington graduate who now coaches football at the historic black high school, said his 16-year-old daughter had been excited after seeing Clinton when she visited the Overtown Youth Center.
“She was happy to be in the presence of a woman of power,” Stork said. “I think Hillary Clinton touches on issues all Democrats are really concerned about. I think that Trump guy knows a lot about business but not about the country and its needs.”
— Jordan Levin
Voter: ‘Trump is a maniac’
8 a.m.: At the Century Village polling place in Pembroke Pines, elderly Broward County residents stood in a short ten-person line to vote in what they described as a quick and easy voting experience.
“Very good,” said Ira Gass, 65. “Took ten minutes, very satisfied.”
The registered Democrat was proud to say he voted for Hillary Clinton and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Pembroke Pines resident Sharon Melin, 71, said she was also content with her voting experience. She also voted for Hillary Clinton.
“It would be wonderful to have a woman president,” she said.
The registered Democrat said she was not too keen on Donald Trump.
“Trump is a maniac,” Melin said. “I don't know what to do if he wins.”
But to 80-year-old Lloyd Liles, Trump was the better choice — not Clinton.
Liles was wearing a lanyard that read: “Adorable Deplorable Trump Voter.”
Although the registered Republican voted for John Kasich in the Florida primary, Liles said he voted for Trump this time.
“I'll be very disappointed if Hillary gets elected,” Liles said, speaking softly through his gray mustache.
The Century Village resident said Trump's views on the military and border security more aligned with his than Hillary’s.
In contrast, Harold Newman, 82, said he voted “straight Democrat.”
Newman said he couldn't stand the thought of Trump winning the presidency because of his views on women.
“I have girls, and I don't want girls near him,” Newman explained.
— Cresonia Hsieh
Voters line up to be first at polls
8 a.m.: Justyce Pinkney, 21, a student at Florida International University, arrived at the Miami Dade Fair & Expo polling center before it opened, hoping to avoid lines.
The first-time voter said she thought she arrived early enough to be the first at the precinct, but a poll worker said that others had arrived before her.
“It doesn’t matter; it still counts either way,” Pinkney said. “I’m one of the first.”
She said she wasn’t originally planning to vote but decided to do it for her younger sister, who’s in high school. Still, Pinkney said she isn’t particularly happy about either of the choices for president.
“I’m scared,” she said.
— Michelle Marchante, South Florida News Service
A number of early voters lined up early on Tuesday outside Florida City Hall, waiting to get out of the humid morning air and cast their ballots.
Meanwhile, Alex Higgins, a lawyer from Washington state with the Democratic Party, said he wanted to make sure there were no irregularities, voting problems or intimidation. Early in the morning, however, the only issue was an older woman who had an issue with her precinct assignment.
Maria Molina, 74, said her polling place was too far away and she wanted to cast her ballot at city hall. Higgins and another attorney worked with her to resolve the issue.
— Liz Portal, South Florida News Service
Evelyn Jacobo, watching over her group of Boy Scouts selling Krispy Kreme donuts and water bottles at the Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes, said about 10 people showed up as the polling center opened. They voted and left in a matter of minutes.
Clarisell De Cardenas Collazo, whose husband, Luis, is running for town council, said she was optimistic about voter turnout.
“I think we’ll see more people in the afternoon after work,” she said.
The wives of two other candidates also were on hand.
Melissa Cid, whose husband Manny is running for Miami Lakes mayor, said 60 percent of voters in the town had already cast their ballots in early voting. “You should have seen the lines on Sunday. It was crazy,” she said.
Also on hand was Eileen Lama, supporting her husband Tony’s re-election bid for town council.
— Yaneli Gonzalez, South Florida News Service
FIU student Courtney Bradshaw, 22, voted for the first time on Tuesday. While she was unsure of the other choices on the ballot, her vote for president was clear.
“Not Donald Trump,” she said from the precinct at the FIU Stadium Club.
Bryston White, 22, who voted via mail-in ballot, accompanied Bradshaw to the polls. The FIU student said his main reason for voting was the presidential race, though the amendment that would allow for medical marajuana also interested him.
— Michelle Marchante, South Florida News Service
The polling site at Greenglade Elementary in Kendall had a line of about 20 people waiting to vote since before the polls opened early Tuesday. Most were making a quick stop to vote at the elementary school precinct before going to work.
Poll watcher Elena Cobian, 57, said she and seven others were ready for the 12-hour shift. She said she was surprised that so many people showed up so early.
— Leo Cosio, South Florida News Service
Without a hitch in Miami-Dade
7:45 a.m.: Voting got started without a hitch at Miami-Dade’s 853 precincts on Tuesday morning.
“Every one of our precincts opened on time,” said Miami-Dade elections spokeswoman Carolina Lopez. “We're ready and waiting for our voters to come —hopefully not at the last minute, though.”
— Alex Harris
Ditto in Broward
7:45 a.m.: All 577 precincts opened on time Tuesday morning, with no problems involving equipment or ballots, Broward elections spokeswoman Tonya Edwards said.
“This is one of the smoothest election mornings I have had in 16 years,” she told the Miami Herald.
Leading up to the election, Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes faced criticism for some errors, including a handful of absentee ballots without the medical marijuana amendment. A judge ruled that Snipes had taken appropriate steps to remedy the problem, including offering replacement ballots.
he Republican Party of Florida sent Snipes a letter about a week ago, complaining about the process of how Snipes’ office opened ballots. That prompted a judge sitting on the canvassing board to make some changes.
— Amy Sherman
Early voting to predict Florida winner?
7 a.m.: One of the big, overlooked benefits of so many Floridians casting their ballots early is that tonight we may be able to call Florida for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
Probably two-thirds of the Florida vote already will have been cast by the time polling places open at 7 a.m. Those pre-Election Day votes will be the first results posted online after the polls close at 7 p.m. (8 p.m. in the Panhandle).
That means that if we're heading to a close but clear result — rather than a virtually tied Florida race like 2012, when we didn't know the winner until the Saturday after the election — we may see the indications very quickly.
“If one of them is going to win this state by two to three points, I think we'll pretty well know it by 7:30 or 8,” said Democratic consultant Steve Schale, probably the state's top cruncher of Florida campaign data.
Overall, it's safe to assume Democrats go into Election Day with a lead in early votes. So today boils down to whether Republicans can overcome that lead. Florida is the checkmate state, meaning that if Clinton wins here, Trump is done. She has other plausible paths without Florida, but if you want to watch which way Florida appears to be going, here are six counties to monitor: Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Duval and Volusia.
— Adam Smith, Tampa Bay Times
Polls are open
7 a.m.: Thousands of people headed to the polls early Tuesday in Florida, where record-setting early and absentee voting already has resulted in half of the state’s nearly 13 million registered voters casting ballots.
The marquee draw: a divisive presidential election pitting Republican Donald Trump against Democrat Hillary Clinton. Polls and pundits suggest that whoever wins Florida takes the White House.
Lines formed even before the polls opened at 7 a.m., with Election Day voters flocking to precincts from Coconut Grove to West Kendall in Miami-Dade County.
For now, early Democratic voters hold an 88,000 edge over their Republican counterparts. After a dozen days of in-person and mail voting, Democrats cast nearly 2.6 million ballots while Republicans cast almost 2.5 million.
The unknown factor in the presidential race will be the turnout on Election Day, and whether voters with no party affiliation back Trump or Clinton. Voters in the so-called I-4 corridor extending from Orlando to Tampa, along with a surging Hispanic turnout, could decide the outcome.
Other big tickets on the ballot are the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Patrick Murphy, and the congressional contest between incumbent Republican Carlos Curbelo and Democrat Joe Garcia.
Voters in Miami-Dade are choosing whether to keep Carlos Gimenez as their mayor or opt for his challenger, Raquel Regalado.
Also, voters statewide will be deciding whether to support or oppose a solar energy amendment.
— Jay Weaver