People in South Florida line up to vote in midterm elections

Florida voters to decide new governor, senator

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Associated Press, Trent Kelly - Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - People across South Florida lined up early Tuesday to vote in the midterm elections. 

Polls opened at 7 a.m. 

Among the first in line Tuesday morning at Miami Beach City Hall was Greg Freeman, who took a red-eye flight from the West Coast to make sure he could vote in his Miami Beach district on Election Day.

Freeman had a list of things that mattered to him as he cast a ballot in the gubernatorial race between former Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. He cited health care, the ability to tell the truth and human decency.

Freeman voted for Gillum. He said health care is a priority for him because of a pre-existing medical condition. He's already seen his insurance premiums sky-rocket and said he doesn't "want to be in a high-risk pool."

In Little Havana, Enrique Tarrio, 34, said he chose DeSantis because the businesses he owns have flourished under Republican Gov. Rick Scott. He said DeSantis is "picking up where Rick Scott left off."

Over in Broward County, some lines were longer than others, but one voter, Rowan Marques, was pleased to not have to wait in line in Plantation.

"I thought the lines were gonna be through the door. That's why we came here early. But I was pleasantly surprised," Marques said.

"Actually very smooth. There was barely any people in there," another Plantation voter, Amanda Piccinonna, said.

Voters in Florida are electing a U.S. senator, a new governor and several new members of Congress while also deciding to whether approve 12 proposed changes to the state's constitution.

The choice between Florida Gov. Rick Scott and three-term incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson could help determine whether the U.S. Senate stays in Republican control.

Many voters took advantage of early voting, which ended Sunday. As of Monday morning, Democrats had a slight advantage of 2.06 million to 2.04 million in votes cast by mail or at early-voting sites.

More than 544,000 voters in Miami-Dade County cast their ballots via mail ballot or early voting. Broward County also reported a 130 percent jump in early votes compared to 2014.

Because of that, Broward County Supervisor of Elections Dr. Brenda Snipes said they have extra staffers working, just in case that huge turnout carries over Tuesday. 

"I've been here 15 years. We've never seen this kind of enthusiasm and energy and interest," Snipes said. "We have more staff than you would typically have for a midterm, because the turnout is just generating lots and lots of participation."

Election workers plan to monitor the precincts at each county's Emergency Operations Center, looking for any potential problems that may arise and ensuring Election Day runs smoothly for what has already been a historic midterm.

Those voting Tuesday are asked to go to their assigned voting location, which can be found by clicking here. Locations may also be found on their voter information card or by going to their county's Elections Department website.

All voters must bring a valid form of identification that contains a photo and a signature.

Acceptable forms of ID include: Florida driver license, Florida identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, United States passport, debit or credit card, military identification, student identification, retirement center identification, public assistance identification, neighborhood association identification, Florida concealed weapon license, veteran health identification card issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or government-issued employee identification.

Those who don't have an ID available will be asked to vote a provisional ballot.

Bringing a current voter information card is not required, but may help expedite the check-in process.

Click here to view sample ballots for Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe and Palm Beach counties. 

Polls close at 7 p.m. 

Copyright 2018 by WPLG Local10.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.