MANATEE -- About 20.6 percent of registered voters in Manatee County voted in Tuesday's primary elections.
A total of 43,324 ballots were cast, according to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections website. Of those, 22,630 were absentee ballots and 3,308 were cast during early voting.
At the Bradenton Elks Club, a steady trickle of voters came and out early Tuesday afternoon. Among them was Margaret Silva, 62, who said she felt it was her duty.
"I'm just fulfilling my requirement as part of being an American," Silva said. "That's how we get what we want done and who we want in office."
Roslunn Steward, 62, said she also came out to vote as part of her civic duty.
"I am a pretty consistent voter," Steward said. "I try and participate in all the elections."
Steward was happy with the change in precincts, saying her new voting location is more convenient. Like elections officials, she expressed
disappointment about the low voter turnout.
"I think a lot of people have become complacent about their right to vote, which I think is sad," Steward said.
Linda Bell, 45, whose polling place had been changed, said she was confused about where to vote.
She was at the Palmetto Youth Center, where she works, but wasn't sure where she should go to vote because she had not had time to look at her registration card, she said.
She said she normally votes near Palmetto's Tillman Elementary, but knew it would be different this time. Across the street was Democratic Manatee County Commission candidate Corie Holmes, whom she enlisted to help her find her new precinct.
Bell, who works as a bus driver and aide for the Manatee County School Board, and in food service at the Palmetto Youth Center, said she was confused but not annoyed.
At the polling place at Renaissance on 9th, voters began to trickle in mid-morning. Some said they were driven by personal loyalties.
"A good friend of mine is running; I am doing my civic duty," said Libby McNary.
While some voters complained about not being able to find new precincts, McNary said she had no problems.
Other voters also said they came out to exercise their civic duty.
"It is my right to vote as a citizen," Copeland Jeffrey said.
Jeffrey, 76, has lived in the United States since 1962 when he migrated from Jamaica. Voting is always important, he said, although he is more passionate about some races than others.
"The school race, that is important for me," Jeffrey said.
Outside the Manatee Supervisor of Elections office, one voter expressed frustrations about the precinct where she was assigned.
"I came here to find out where to go," she said, saying she did not want her name used.
Living near U.S. 301 and State Road 70, she thought her card was wrong when it directed her to go to Sarasota, she said.
"It doesn't make any sense," she said as she got into her car.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.