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States Report Significant Numbers of Early Voters

From Associated Press

Early voting ended Friday in Nevada, and election officials reported that the record numbers of early and absentee ballots should add up to half of the 800,000 people expected to vote by the time polls close Tuesday night.

By Friday evening, more than 380,000 Nevadans had cast early or absentee ballots in Clark, Washoe, Carson City and Douglas counties, where 91% of Nevada voters live. Democrats were slightly ahead of Republicans in turnout, officials said.

The previous Nevada record was in 2000, with 285,386 early and absentee voters.

With 32 states now offering some form of early voting, an Associated Press-Ipsos poll taken last weekend found that 22% of voters across the United States were beating the election day rush. In addition to Nevada, large early turnouts were reported in Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington and Tennessee.

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Election officials in Florida said that more than 1.5 million residents voted early or absentee. The officials predicted that at least 20% of the electorate would vote before Tuesday.

In Iowa, where 277,000 people voted absentee four years ago, 287,000 had voted as of Monday. In the state’s largest county, Polk, nearly 34,000 of the early voters were registered Democrats, 18,000 were Republicans and 14,000 had no party affiliation.

Tennessee voters turned out in record numbers over the last two weeks to cast their ballots, at times overwhelming the limited number of precincts that were open during the state’s early voting period, election officials said.

About 1.1 million residents cast ballots during the 14-day early voting period that ended Thursday, the officials said. Tennessee has about 3.7 million registered voters, meaning about 30% of them have voted.

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State Election Coordinator Brook Thompson said he got the impression that voters felt the need to vote after the contested 2000 election.

“We’ve been talking about the presidential race virtually every day for a year,” he said. “People just decided, ‘I’m, going to vote this time.’ And maybe people don’t trust polls so much anymore.”

Hundreds of early voters in Rutherford County stood in line for three to four hours most days -- and some even ordered pizza -- before reaching a booth at a gymnasium.


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