MANATEE -- By early afternoon Tuesday, 94,000 Manatee County voters had cast their ballots by mail or in-person.
"We have had a much larger turnout than expected," Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett said.
With five hours remaining until the polls close at 7 p.m., Manatee had already seen a "huge turnout" from the 212,000 residents who are registered to vote, Bennett said.
"Steady" is how poll workers referred to the turnout throughout the day.
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Jean Benton, precinct clerk at the Ellenton United Methodist Church said a wave of voters showed up early, and there had not been a lull between voters since, with two or three showing up regularly throughout the day.
"A few of them were in the wrong place," Benton said.
Bennett acknowledged that it was a problem Tuesday with many voters going to closed or relocated precincts.
Each voter, however, received a new voter information card with their new poll location, received a notice in the mail, and the changes were published in legal ads and news stories, Bennett said.
"I don't know what else we could have done," he said.
A member of the Crist campaign called the Bradenton Herald's newsroom to complain that they had attempted to call Bennett's office about the problem, and could not reach anyone to ask for help.
At University Park Country Club, precinct clerk Thomas Schwartz said they've had a good turnout which has been steady since polls opened at 7 a.m.
"We passed the number of voters we had in the primary by 10 a.m.," Schwartz said.
Extra phone bank operators were at work election day, helping steer lost voters to their precincts, he said.
The contentious governor's race between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist, as well as the medical marijuana amendment seemed to be big draws on Tuesday.
Robin Woolman cast her ballot at the Bradenton Area Convention Center in Palmetto in the afternoon and said she had voted for medical marijuana.
Woolman said she lives in a 55-plus community and has seen many of her neighbors and several family members die in pain, and medical marijuana would have helped them, Woolman said.
Maria Moore, who also voted at the convention center, said she was conflicted over the gubernatorial race, and declined to say who got her vote. But she did say that opposed medical marijuana.
"I am not a scientists and I don't know if it will help or hurt," Moore said of medical marijuana.
Bradenton resident Debra Danehy held a "Yes on 2" sign outside Lakewood Ranch Town Hall on Tuesday afternoon. Danehy watched the positive effects medical marijuana had on her husband who died after his 16-year battle with advanced metastatic prostate cancer.
"He didn't drool anymore," she said. "He could talk to his kids."
Danehy, who is part of United for Care, said legalizing medical marijuana is about compassion.
"I don't think people should have to go out on the street to look for alternatives to medical decisions being made now," she said.
At Woodland Community Church on State Road 70, 19-year-old Brooke Bazell voted for the first time.
"I just think it's important...my duty I guess," she said.
When the Woodland Community Church precinct opened at 7 a.m., there were 37 voters in line, poll worker Pete Taylor said.
As voters left the polling place, Taylor told voters, "When you do your homework, the test is easy."
At the Oneco United Methodist Church polling place, a steady march of voters was arriving at 8:30 a.m.
"I like to come out to vote, rather than do early voting," Janna Fairchild said.
At the top of her concerns was Amendment 2, medical marijuana, which she opposes.
"I am concerned about marijuana being more easily available to people who are not ill," Fairchild said.
The governor's race was also important to Fairchild.
"I feel like Florida is going in the right direction now, so I kept with Rick Scott," she said.
Steve Lewis, a World War II veteran, and lifelong Democrat who first voted for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, said his choice was between Republican Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist.
"They are the same; there is no difference," Lewis said, without revealing who got his vote.
For Bradenton resident Susan O'Hara, she cast her vote for Scott at Braden River Library because Scott is the "lesser of two evils."
"I would hate to see someone who can't make up their mind on what political party they are running for governor," she said.
At the Renaissance Center, 1816 Ninth St. W., in downtown Bradenton, it was quiet at 9:30 a.m.
Dennis Dick and Alan Burdick said they voted for Scott in the gubernatorial race, citing the improving economy and jobs picture.
"Crist has changed positions so many times, you don't know what he believes in," Burdick said.
Burdick was critical of the negative advertising that marked the race.
"No one really discusses the issues anymore," Burdick said.
Dale Chadwick, a Democrat volunteer outside the Renaissance Center, said she got involved because she would like to see more emphasis on the middle-class, women's rights and environmental protection.
Although neither of Florida's senators are up for re-election this year, the possible GOP takeover of the U.S. Senate has been a top national news story this year.
The busiest time at the polls so far was before 9 a.m., when most workers head to their jobs. Bennett predicted there would be another busy time after 5 p.m., and before poll closing at 7 p.m.
James A. Jones Jr., Herald reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter@bradenton.com. Follow her on Twitter