About 33,000 ballots have already been cast in Manatee County as early voting came to an end Saturday.
Close to 3,000 ballots were cast during the early voting period in Manatee County, according to Supervisor of Elections Michael Bennett.
Saturday was by far the busiest day early voting had seen, said Bennett, who visited all the early voting locations at least once Saturday. The Supervisor of Elections and Lakewood Ranch precincts seemed to be the busiest while the West Manatee and Palmetto locations were the slowest, he said. Rocky Bluff always does well, he added.
“A lot of people wait for the last day of early voting,” Bennett said.
As of Saturday, more than 30,000 mail ballots also had been received, he said.
“We have received about half of the ballots we sent out,” Bennett said. “Primaries traditionally have a lower turnout. We know the general will be much better.”
Kelly Townsend of Bradenton was among those casting a ballot Saturday at the precinct at the Supervisor of Elections Office.
“I like to go when it’s my day off,” Townsend said.
Townsend said Florida’s race for U.S. Senate was among those that most interested her.
“I like to vote anyway, and I’m also not too excited about the general election, so this just gave me better options,” Townsend said.
Candidates such as Misty Servia were out campaigning on Saturday. Maintaining the allowed distance from the polls, Servia was camped outside the precinct at the Supervisor of Elections Office Saturday afternoon.
“It’s been a lot of work today, but it’s been really exciting,” Servia said. “We have been out sign waiving. We’ve heard lots of horns and lots of excitement, and that gets us really excited as well.”
Servia’s volunteers were also out campaigning for her throughout the county, she said.
“It’s hot, we are sweating, but it’s a labor of love. We are out there making a difference,” Servia said.
Looking forward to Tuesday’s primary election day, Bennett wanted to remind those voters who still have their mail ballots, that they can no longer be dropped off at any location other than the Supervisor of Elections office, 600 301 Blvd. W. in Bradenton. He also hopes that more voters will consider mail ballots in the future.
And on Tuesday morning, he asks that voters be patient when they come out and vote.
“Hopefully, they will be there very early,” Bennett said. “But expect lines at 7 a.m., but there shouldn’t be any lines after 7:30 a.m. or 8 a.m. It always just that initial bunch waiting.”
Jessica De Leon: 941-745-7049, @JDeLeon1012